U.S. prosecutors in Houston unsealed part of an indictment on Monday, revealing corruption allegations against five former Venezuelan officials in connection with what appears to be a major bribery scheme at Venezuela’s state-run oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the Department of Justice said.
Four of the defendants were arrested in Spain in October 2017 based on a 20-count indictment issued in Texas two months earlier while the fifth, Alejandro Isturiz Chiesa, remains at large. Fifteen further defendants are charged in the still-sealed parts of the indictment, which is part of an ongoing investigation by the US government.
The five officials charged on Monday were known as the "management team" for their influence at PDVSA. They allegedly accepted bribes and laundered money in order to enrich themselves and secure energy contracts for PDVSA, including during 2015 when Venezuela faced widespread power shortages.