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Report: DOJ arrests two for Venezuela oil company bribes

The Justice Department said Sunday two men were arrested last week for an alleged bribery scheme to win work from Venezuela’s state-owned energy company, Reuters reported.

Roberto Rincon was arrested Wednesday in Houston. He’s the president of Texas-based Tradequip Services & Marine, an oil and gas services company.

Rincon, 55, was charged with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering offenses, a DOJ spokesman told Reuters.

In Miami Wednesday, Abraham Jose Shiera Bastidas, 52, of Coral Gables, Florida was arrested on the same charges, according to DOJ spokesperson Peter Carr.

“The charges relate to what the Justice Department called a fraudulent and corrupt scheme to secure energy contracts from Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), Venezuela’s state-owned energy company,” the report said.

The DOJ hasn’t issued other public statements or made charging documents available.

The Wall Street Journal said Rincon had supplied PDVSA with $500 million in oil equipment a year, “becoming one of the state oil firm’s most important contractors, according to former senior executives of the oil firm.”

Reuters said it’s not clear if the case is related to Tradequip, and the company didn’t respond to a call and email asking for comment.

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