Venezuelan Convicted of Acting as Foreign Agent News Wire

MIAMI — A Miami federal jury convicted Venezuelan national Franklin Duran, on charges of acting and conspiring to act as an agent of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela within the United States, without prior notification to the Attorney General of the United States, as required by law.

In December 2007, Duran, 41, along with co-defendants Moises Maionica, 36, Antonio Jose Canchica Gomez, 37, Rodolfo Wanseele Paciello, 41, and Carlos Kauffmann, 36, were charged in a two-Count indictment for their participation in a series of meetings, beginning in August 2007, in South Florida with Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson.

According to testimony at trial, the purpose of these meetings was to procure Antonini’s help in concealing the source and destination of, and the role of the government of Venezuela in, the intended delivery of an $800,000 cash contribution to the political campaign of a then-Argentine presidential candidate. The last meeting took place on Dec. 11, 2007, when defendants Duran, Maionica, and another individual met with Antonini in South Florida to discuss the creation of false documents in furtherance of the cover-up, the feds said.

According to the evidence, various high-ranking Venezuelan government officials, including officials from the Office of the Vice President of the Republic, members of the DISIP (Intelligence and Preventive Services Directorate), and a high-ranking official from the Justice Ministry of Venezuela, were aware of this matter and directed the defendants’ activities in South Florida.

The defendants told Antonini that these funds had been destined for the campaign of a candidate in the Argentine presidential election.

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