Federal authorities arrested former Republican Miami Congressman David Rivera on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent Monday, The Associated Press reports.
Rivera, who served in Congress from 2011-2013, signed a $50 million consulting contract with the socialist Venezuelan government and lobbied politicians and other officials on Venezuela’s behalf in 2017, including advocating for the U.S. ending sanctions against the country.
A federal grand jury in the Southern District of Florida indicted Rivera in November, according to CBS News. The eight-count indictment includes meetings in Washington, New York and Dallas. Rivera used code words in chat messages, referring to Maduro as the “bus driver,” a congressman as “Sombrero,” and millions of dollars as “melons.”
The indictment also names Rivera’s former political consultant, Esther Nuhfer.
The indictment against Rivera and Nuhfer states, “It was the purpose of the conspiracy for the defendants to unlawfully enrich themselves by engaging in political activities in the United States on behalf of the government of Venezuela, and by representing the interests of the government of Venezuela before officials of the of the United States government and in an effort to influence United States foreign policy.”
The indictment alleges, “Over time, Rivera, Nuhfer, Foreign Individual 1 and Individual 1 used their portions of these funds to pay for various personal and business expenses, such as the purchase of real estate, payment of expenses for luxury yachts, and, in Rivera’s case, contributions to his campaign for state office [in 2018].”
Correspondent Andrew Feinberg tweeted Monday, “ATLANTA (AP) — Feds arrest ex-Florida Representative David Rivera, who had $50 million consulting deal with Venezuela oil giant’s U.S. affiliate. Rivera served one term (2011-2013) as a @HouseGOP member.”
ATLANTA (AP) — Feds arrest ex-Florida Representative David Rivera, who had $50 million consulting deal with Venezuela oil giant’s U.S. affiliate.
Rivera served one term (2011-2013) as a @HouseGOP member.
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) December 5, 2022
Republican Miami committeeman David Rivera, a close friend of @marcorubio got arrested on Monday. He received $15 mill from Dictator Maduro in VZ & was trying to set a meeting withTrump.The @GOP always accusing others of what they do themselves, socialistas.https://t.co/4egHFYIXrz
— Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@DebbieforFL) December 6, 2022
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