Spanish court allows extradition to US of Venezuelan suspect

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Spain’s national court on Friday agreed to the extradition to the United States of the former nurse of former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who has been charged with money laundering in Miami.

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The court said in a statement that the court magistrates “deem all requirements” for the extradition of Claudia Diaz to be met.

The court rejected Diaz’s arguments against extradition that she is being investigated in Spain on the same charges and obtained Spanish nationality last April.


Magistrates ruled that the Spanish investigation did not cover similar charges, saying the US investigation is too broad, and that the factors that could prevent a Spaniard’s extradition are not in question.

Diaz and her husband Adrian Velasquez, Chavez’s former security adviser, are living in Madrid where he was briefly arrested in 2018 on a Venezuelan warrant. But Spain’s Supreme Court rejected Venezuela’s extradition request, noting that the couple could be tortured if they returned home.

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A federal court in Miami has accused Diaz of taking bribes from a billionaire media mogul when he worked as Venezuela’s national treasurer.

She and her husband are accused of taking at least $4.2 million to advance a bribery scheme, according to charges introduced last October. Payments came from companies based in Switzerland and from bank accounts in Miami to the couple.

Behind the payment was businessman Raul Gorin, the owner of Globovision, the country’s last major private TV network, according to prosecutors.

In 2017 Gorin was placed on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Most Wanted list after being accused of his alleged role in a $2.4 billion money laundering conspiracy.

US prosecutors have charged dozens of officials and businessmen linked to Maduro as part of a campaign to root out corruption in the oil-rich South American nation.

In the two decades of socialist rule, about $300 billion is estimated to have been raided from the Venezuelan state exchequer.


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