Treasury continues to target corrupt public sector officials undermining public services
Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two Maduro regime officials who continue to engage in significant corruption and fraud to the detriment of the people of Venezuela. Persistent countrywide blackouts are the latest and worst in a long history of electricity outages, stemming from years of massive corruption, neglect, and mismanagement of Venezuela’s electricity infrastructure by the illegitimate Maduro regime. The lack of electricity limits the Venezuelan people’s access to basic goods, services, and potable water supplies, and exacerbates the already precarious health care system, in which the majority of hospitals already lack reliable water and power and are experiencing shortages of medicine and medical supplies.
“The people of Venezuela entrusted their public officials to provide fundamental civic services, like water and electricity. The illegitimate Maduro regime exploits the public trust by plundering Venezuelan assets, enriching themselves, and watching idly as basic public systems needlessly and catastrophically fail,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “Treasury will continue to target officials who exacerbate corruption at the expense of the Venezuelan people and knowingly fail to provide basic public services.”
Today’s action targets the former minister of Electric Power and President of the National Electric Corporation (CORPOELEC), Luis Alfredo Motta Dominguez (Motta), and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Investments, and Strategic Alliances for the Ministry of Electric Power, Eustiquio Jose Lugo Gomez (Lugo), pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13692. Rather than use their official positions to serve the Venezuelan people, Motta and Lugo illegally enriched themselves and contributed to the electricity crisis.
Pursuant to an investigation undertaken by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami, as a part of a criminal complaint in March 2019, senior CORPOELEC officials were identified as having previously received bribes, since at least 2016, from two Venezuelan businessmen in exchange for awarding contracts for expensive equipment to maintain Venezuelan electrical infrastructure. Some of the equipment received as a part of these contracts was incompatible with the Venezuelan electrical system, rendering them useless and contributing to the ongoing deterioration of the electrical system. Despite those incompatibilities, officials from CORPOELEC listed these contracts as delivered and processed in full. As corruption ran rampant through CORPOELEC, senior officials continued to exacerbate the ongoing mismanagement intertwined in the Venezuelan electrical infrastructure and ignored their responsibility to the Venezuelan people.
The following two individuals are being designated today pursuant to Executive Order 13692, as amended, as current or former officials of the Government of Venezuela:
- Luis Alfredo Motta Dominguez is the former Minister of Electric Power as well as President of the National Electric Corporation (CORPOELEC), both positions he had held since 2015. Maduro removed Motta from these positions in March 2019. Additionally, Motta is a Major General of the Bolivarian National Guard and previously served as the head of Strategic Integral Development Region (REDI) Central.
- Eustiquio Jose Lugo Gomez is the Deputy Minister of Finance, Investment, and Strategic Alliances for the Ministry of Electric Power. Additionally, Lugo is a Brigadier General and was formerly appointed to the Operations Directorate of the Anti-Drug Command of the General Command of the Bolivarian National Guard.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by such individuals, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
Also today, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division indicted Motta and Lugo for their alleged roles in laundering the proceeds of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Venezuelan anti-bribery law in connection with their alleged receipt of bribes to award CORPOELEC business to U.S.-based companies. Additional information about today’s action.
U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior. For example, on May 7, 2019, OFAC removed sanctions imposed on former high-ranking Venezuelan intelligence official Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera after his public break with Maduro. The United States continues to make clear that the removal of sanctions is available for persons designated under E.O. 13692 or E.O. 13850, both as amended, who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the illegitimate Maduro regime, or combat corruption in Venezuela.
For information about the methods that Venezuelan senior political figures, their associates, and front persons use to move and hide corrupt proceeds, including how they try to exploit the U.S. financial system and real estate market, please refer to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) advisories FIN-2019-A002, “Updated Advisory on Widespread Public Corruption in Venezuela,” FIN-2017-A006, “Advisory to Financial Institutions and Real Estate Firms and Professionals” and FIN-2018-A003, “Advisory on Human Rights Abuses Enabled by Corrupt Senior Foreign Political Figures and their Financial Facilitators.”