Costa Rican lawyer and Venezuelan official under investigation in money laundering operation

June 27, 2013

Agents of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) on Thursday raided four locations in San José during an operation to find evidence that links a Costa Rican lawyer and a Venezuelan national to a money laundering case.

Officials from the Prosecutor’s Office, agents from the Financial Intelligence Unit and the National Banking Police also carried out three more raids, one of them at a nearby hotel where the Venezuelan man is staying, and also at the lawyer’s house. No arrests were made at the time.

The investigation aims to clarify money transfers made from Venezuelan government agencies to corporations founded by the two suspects in Costa Rica. On June 13, one of the corporations received a $9.7 million transfer from the Venezuelan government to buy soap bars, the judicial branch press office reported in a press release.

Bank officials ordered the freezing of the corporations’ accounts after they found other suspicious transfers totalling $15.5 million. None of the corporations reported any commercial activity, and they do not have any assets or properties registered in the country.

According to OIJ’s investigation, from March-October 2012 the corporations also received several million dollars to purchase goods for Venezuelan government agencies, but the money was then transferred to bank accounts and firms located in the United States, Honduras, China and Panama.

They also found that money received did not match the amounts of products sent to Venezuela.

The OIJ operation was carried out in collaboration with Venezuelan officials.

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