David Rivera, a former Republican congressman, and Marco Rubio pal, is under indictment. Money laundering and being a foreign agent are apparently his jam.
The scandal-plagued Republican was arrested in Atlanta on Monday on multiple felony counts of lobbying on behalf of the Venezuelan communist regime.
The ex-legislator signed a deal worth at least $50 million for “consulting” work with the authoritarian country — work which he never completed.
Rivera is alleged to have been operating on behalf of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, acting as an intermediary to help ease U.S. sanctions against the country.
It’s alleged that Rivera was a middleman between his company Interamerican Consulting and nefarious characters in Maduro’s inner circle, most notably PDV USA – a company owned by the fossil fuel company Citgo.
The 2017 contract came under scrutiny, and a federal investigation ensued. Rivera’s failure to register as a foreign lobbying agent put the corrupt ex-congressman on the federal map.
“Mr. Rivera never provided any services to Citgo and, it appears, never intended to do so. Instead, the true purpose of the agreement was to cover up illicit transactions.”
At the beginning of former president Donald Trump’s administration, the Maduro regime donated half a million dollars through the fossil fuel company in an attempt to sway the new administration to ease up sanctions on the communist country.
According to messages exchanged with Maduro insider Raul Gorring, “Rivera discussed trying to set up a meeting between Venezuela’s foreign minister and executives from the U.S. oil company Exxon.”
Using coded communications and saying, “the concert ticket is $15, not $20, as we said last night.”
“At deposition, Mr. Rivera was unable to explain what this text message meant, and testified that he did not remember attending concerts at that time,” PDV USA said in its filing.
An accountant for Rivera told the IRS in a deposition that he believed his client had committed tax fraud.
The corrupt former congressman maintains his innocence, saying the payments were fees in accordance with his consulting contract — something that PDV USA contradicts, alleging that Rivera created “phony contracts.”
“In short, PDV USA received nothing from Interamerican in exchange for making payments of $15 million,” the plaintiffs claim. “Most of that sum was transferred to third parties that are either indicted fugitives from justice or under criminal investigation in connection with those payments.”
“The written record is bereft of any evidence that Interamerican performed any of the contracted services,” the new filings from PDV USA assert. “There is not a single email, a single PowerPoint presentation, a single outline, a single memorandum, a single calendar entry, or anything else suggesting that Interamerican ever performed any of the services.”
During his time in Florida’s state House, Rivera was accused of financing an operative running against Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fl), his then-Democratic opponent for Congress. He was ultimately fined nearly half a million dollars for violating campaign finance laws as a result of the scheme.
Occupy Democrats reached out to the attorney for Rivera for comment, and we are still awaiting a reply.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick.