US arrests Woodlands resident in billion dollar bribe and money laundering scheme

Roberto Rincón and his $5 million mansion in The Woodlands atodomomento

US authorities have arrested two Venezuelan businessmen based in America after court documents revealed on Monday that the men bribed officials and laundered money involving the Venezuelan government-run oil companyPDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela).

One of the men, Roberto Rincón, 55, lives in a $5 million mansion in The Woodlands community, where he was arrested on Wednesday on charges of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This law prohibits American businesses or people from bribing government officials in other countries in order to obtain business there.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice and court records, Rincón and his associate from Miami, Abraham Shiera, 52, allegedly bribed officials from the company to win contracts worth more than $1 billion.

At least $750 million has been traced back to Rincón between 2010 and 2013, an order of detention filed in Federal District Court in Houston said.

In addition, Rincon was also linked to paying one official from the government-run oil company $2.5 million in bribes over the same period.

The two men allegedly bribed five officials in total at PDVSA, all of which were involved in contracts. The men were bribed to procure and steer contracts to Rincón and Shiera.

Rincón and Shiera were also linked to sending the oil company officials and their relatives on luxurious trips, where they would pay for hotel rooms, whiskey and food, according to court documents.

These payments were often disguised as commission payments for “engineering work” that never actually took place.

Rincón entered a plea of not guilty, court documents revealed.

These corruption charges are just some of many involving the Venezuelan government and PDVSA.

See the actual court documents here.