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Florida Republican Arrested In Atlanta On Money Laundering Charges



David Rivera

A former Florida GOP lawmaker who signed a $50 million consulting contract with Venezuela’s socialist government was arrested Monday in connection to an ongoing federal criminal investigation, multiple news outlets reported, citing law enforcement officials.

According to the news outlet, David Rivera, a Republican who served from 2011 to 2013, was arrested at Atlanta’s airport on charges of money laundering and for being an unregistered foreign agent.

The eight-count indictment alleges he was part of a conspiracy to lobby on behalf of Venezuela to improve U.S.-Venezuela relations, resolve an oil company legal dispute and end U.S. economic sanctions against the South American nation — without registering as a foreign agent.

The indictment cites meetings in Washington, New York and elsewhere that Rivera is described as setting up with GOP senators, congressmen, and Trump White House officials, none of whom are named, said Marlene Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami.

Authorities began investigating Rivera after it emerged that he received the massive contract from a U.S. affiliate of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company as President Nicolas Maduro was trying to curry favor with the White House in the early days of the Trump administration.

As part of that effort, they also roped in Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, who secretly traveled to Venezuela in 2018 to meet with Maduro.

Some of the $15 million in payments that Rivera received as part of the contract were transferred to two of his associates and a Miami company, Interglobal Yacht Management, which PDV USA alleges was used to pay for maintenance on one of Gorrin’s superyachts.

To justify the large payments, PDV USA allegedly created “phony contracts” backdated to March 20, 2017 — the day before the consulting agreement took effect, according to the report.

Before being elected to Congress, Rivera was a high-ranking Florida legislator, serving from 2003 to 2010 in the House. During that time he shared a Tallahassee home with current U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who eventually became Florida House speaker.

The Tampa Bay Times also reported that “Rivera has been embroiled in several election-related controversies, including orchestrating the stealth funding of an unknown Democratic candidate to take on his main rival in a South Florida congressional race and a state investigation into whether he hid a $1 million contract with a gambling company. That probe also involved possible misuse of campaign funds to pay for state House activities already reimbursed by the state.”


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