Venezuelan businessman to be sent to Texas for U.S. corruption case
By Zachary Fagenson
MIAMI Jan 14 (Reuters) - A judge in Miami on Thursday ordered the transfer to Texas of a Venezuelan businessman accused by U.S. prosecutors of taking part in a $1 billion conspiracy to pay bribes to obtain contracts from Venezuela's state oil company.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Simonton deferred to a federal judge in Houston on whether Abraham Jose Shiera Bastidas, who has been charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiring to launder money, should be released on bail.
"It would be the Texas judge who would make that decision," she said.
A lawyer for Shiera, Daniel Fetterman, declined comment. The lawyer has not commented on the charges.
Shiera has been detained since Dec. 16, when he and his co-defendant, Tradequip Services & Marine President Roberto Rincon, were arrested on charges contained in an indictment filed in federal court in Houston.
According to the indictment, Rincon, 55, and Shiera, the manager of Vertix Instrumentos, conspired to pay bribes to officials to secure contracts from Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), Venezuela's state-owned oil company.
PDVSA last month denounced what it called an international smear campaign by opponents to link alleged wrongful acts committed by Venezuelan citizens and businesses to the company.
The indictment charging Shiera and Rincon said five PDVSA officials received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes made through wire transfers, mortgage payments, airline tickets and, in one case, whiskey. Continuación...