US Offers $5 Million Reward for Arrest of Venezuelan Chief Justice

US Offers $5 Million Reward for Arrest of Venezuelan Chief Justice

By Steven McLoud/Diálogo
August 27, 2020

The U.S. Department of State has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Maikel Moreno, nominal president of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela.

According to the announcement made on July 21, the State Department is accusing Moreno of money laundering and “participating in transnational organized crime.” Moreno, who has been at the head of Venezuela’s Supreme Court since February 2017, has played a key role in overruling or annulling laws passed by the National Assembly, the only institution that is not controlled by the Nicolás Maduro regime.

Among the charges listed in the State Department’s press release, Moreno is accused of authorizing the seizure and sale of a General Motors auto plant with an estimated value of $100 million in exchange for a personal percentage of the proceeds. He is also alleged to have received bribes to authorize the dismissal of charges or release of Venezuelans, including one person charged in a multibillion dollar fraud scheme against the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA.

In a statement posted on social media, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: “Maikel Moreno, a Maduro crony, used his position of authority for personal gain, accepting bribes to influence the outcomes of criminal cases in Venezuela. In publicly designating him today, we are sending a clear message: The U.S. stands firmly against corruption.”

Moreno is now the latest senior official of the Maduro regime for whom a multimillion dollar reward is being offered. On March 26, the U.S. offered a $15 million reward for information leading to Maduro’s arrest on narcoterrorism charges, along with a $10 million reward for information on each of the following high level officials: Diosdado Cabello, head of Venezuela’s illegitimate National Constituent Assembly; Hugo Carvajal, ex-military intelligence chief; and Tareck El Aissami, current nominal minister of Petroleum.

On that same day, Moreno was indicted for money laundering and corruption in Miami, Florida. While the vast majority of Venezuelans live in extreme poverty, federal prosecutors say Moreno received millions of dollars in bribes paid through Miami and foreign bank accounts that he attempted to spend on chartered private jets, expensive watches, and other luxury goods in South Florida.