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Man pleads guilty for role in Venezuelan oil bribery scheme

May 29, 2019

HOUSTON (AP) — A businessman accused of bribing Venezuelan oil company officials has pleaded guilty in an alleged multibillion-dollar graft scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston says Jose Manuel Gonzalez Testino pleaded guilty Wednesday to three charges, including one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to officials representing Venezuela’s state-owned-and-controlled oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, and its Houston-based subsidiary in order to secure contracts.

The 49-year-old Gonzalez is a dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizen from Miami. He is set to be sentenced Aug. 28.

Prosecutors say 21 individuals have been charged in the case and Gonzalez is the 16th to plead guilty.

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