A British stockbroking firm is embroiled in a $1.2billion (£940million) Venezuelan money-laundering scandal.
Fake investment schemes and a property-buying spree in Miami were allegedly used to cover up $1.2billion that was siphoned out of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA between 2014 and 2017.
The case, which is being investigated by Homeland Security officials in the US, reportedly involves Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro.
Court documents filed in Florida and seen by The Mail on Sunday reveal ‘a UK broker dealer’ was used to launder money last year by buying a fraudulent bond designed to hide the source of the cash.
The identity of the broker in question is not disclosed, but referred to as ‘European Financial Institution 2’ in the investigation which has been called ‘Operation Money Flight’.
The revelations in the US court documents have sparked speculation in the City about the identity of the British company at the heart of the investigation.
At the end of October, German banker Matthias Krull was sentenced to ten years in prison for his role in the scheme.
Reports say President Maduro is the principal suspect in the case referred to in the papers as ‘Venezuelan Official 2’, along with his three stepsons and other government officials.
Venezuela’s economy has shrunk by half since Maduro came to power five years ago, leaving 90 per cent of the population in poverty and prompting millions of people to flee the country.
A Homeland Security team based in London helped with the investigations.