A former Venezuelan treasurer, who also served as an aide to late President Hugo Chavez and was convicted in the U.S. of money laundering, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Claudia Diaz, a former Navy sergeant who served as Venezuela's national treasurer from 2011 to 2013 and was Chavez' nurse when he was being treated for cancer, was extradited from Spain to the United States in May 2022.
A Florida jury in December convicted Diaz and her husband Adrian Velasquez on two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in association with a corruption scheme in Venezuela.
U.S. District Court Judge William Dimitroulea in Florida sentenced Diaz and her husband, who also received 15 years, on Wednesday.
U.S. prosecutors in an indictment originally filed in 2020 said Diaz received at least $65 million in bribes between 2011 and 2013 in exchange for helping Raul Gorrin, also a Venezuelan national, obtain dollars at a favourable exchange rate.
Diaz, Velasquez and Gorrin purchased and paid expenses related to private jets, yachts, mansions, champion horses and a designer fashion line in South Florida, prosecutors said.