04:39 GMT26 February 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has sanctioned two Venezuelan officials, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Thursday.

    "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)," the statement said.

    The Treasury Department accused Motta and Lugo for their involvement in the recent blackout in 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 [President Nicholas] Maduro regime," the statement said.

    In a separate action, US Department of Justice charged both Motta and Lugo for "their alleged roles in laundering the proceeds of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with their alleged receipt of bribes."

    The alleged criminal activity has aimed to award CORPOELEC to US-based companies, the Justice Department said.

    According to the indictment, Motta and Lugo awarded three Florida-based companies more than $60 million in procurement contracts with CORPOELEC in exchange for bribes paid to them or for their benefit, the Justice Department said.

    Meanwhile, an indictment is "merely an allegation", the Department noted. Therefore, both defendants are "presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law," it added.


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