Spain extradites Venezuela ex-treasurer to US on corruption charges
Spain on Thursday extradited to the United States on corruption charges a former Venezuelan treasury chief who was ex-leader Hugo Chavez’s personal nurse and named in the Panama Papers scandal.
Claudia Patricia Diaz, Venezuela’s national treasurer from 2011 to 2013, is accused of participating in a vast scheme involving black-market currency exchanges that the US Treasury Department claims facilitated the embezzlement of $2.4 billion.
The United States has said the informal exchange houses were used to sell dollars above the official rate, bypassing strict controls, and that the money ended up in US and European bank accounts and investments.
Diaz is due to appear before a federal court in Florida on Friday, according to US legal records.
Her husband, Adrian Jose Velasquez Figueroa, also stands accused of the same charge.
The US Treasury sanctioned Diaz and six other Venezuelans for alleged participation in the scheme in 2019.
Another former Venezuelan government official received a 10-year jail sentence in the United States in 2018 for using the currency scheme to engage in corruption and money-laundering worth more than $1 billion.
Diaz, who lived in Madrid, had been placed under house arrest in Spain.
She and her husband were arrested in Spain in 2018 at Caracas’s request after appearing in the Panama Papers scandal that revealed major tax evasion and fraud.