Closing safe havens for Venezuelan State Organized Crime: “Inverted rule of law,” impunity, and challenges in international cooperation in extradition between the U.S. and Spain

Jan-Michael Simon

Criminal actors linked to Venezuelan State Organized Crime, be they in or outside the country, profit from Venezuela’s ruling system of “inverted rule of law” and impunity. The present article sheds light on international challenges that have arisen while seeking accountability abroad. Criminal proceedings currently underway in the U.S. and Spain provide insight as to the spectrum of the criminal activities and the magnitude of the assets stolen. Venezuelan State Organized Crime has been described as “a multi-jurisdictional corruption enterprise that makes Odebrecht look like a downtown Caracas pickpocket.” It is an interesting comparison considering that the U.S. Department of Justice has called the “Odebrecht” precedent “the largest foreign bribery case in history.” Many cases related to Venezuelan State Organized Crime are only beginning to be uncovered. Yet, the cases in the U.S. and Spain make clear that the criminal operations involve illicit transnational relations at the global level between actors of different nationalities and residencies.

Based on three case studies, this article concludes that former high-level public officials linked to Venezuelan State Organized Crime residing in Spain have sought refuge there while trying to elude investigations in the U.S. This article concludes that to ensure that Spain is not a safe haven for such crimes, Spanish authorities must take good faith measures toward prosecution and ensure due diligence, or extradite to the U.S. Failing to do so would result in the Spanish justice sector contributing to the impunity of actors involved in Venezuelan State Organized Crime.

 

Sigue leyendo