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Giuliani Represented Venezuelan Tycoon Accused of Connections to Chavez Regime

Rudy Giuliani in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani represented a wealthy Venezuelan businessman in a Justice Department investigation into alleged money laundering in Florida, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

Alejandro Betancourt López was reportedly an uncharged co-conspirator in a case in which a group of Venezuelan businessmen, including Betancourt’s cousin, tried to steal money from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and launder about $1.2 billion of those funds through real estate purchases in Florida. Giuliani represented Betancourt earlier this year during the DOJ investigation into the case, in which he argued Betancourt should not be made to face criminal charges.

Giuliani also stayed at Betancourt’s estate south of Madrid, Spain in August while simultaneously working to unearth corruption connected to Ukrainian officials and former vice president Joe Biden, at the behest of President Trump. While in Spain he met with top Ukrainian official Andriy Yermak to discuss details of the investigation into Biden that Trump wanted Ukraine to pursue.

Betancourt, who was educated at Suffolk University, cofounded a power company called Derwick Associates. That company was alleged to have paid bribes to strongman Hugo Chavez’s regime in order to build power plants for the country, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In response to the Post’s story, Giuliani denied wrongdoing.

“This is attorney client privilege so I will withstand whatever malicious lies or spin you put on it,” Giuliani told the Post via text.

John Sale, an attorney of Betancourt and a friend of Giuliani from law school, declined to comment on the relationship between his client and the former mayor.

Giuliani’s businesses and several of his associates are currently under federal scrutiny in a wide-ranging investigation. One concern of the investigation is whether Giuliani acted as an unregistered agent for a foreign power or foreign nationals. When asked about the allegation that he acted as an unregistered foreign lobbyist, Giuliani told the Journal that whenever his foreign clients asked for assistance navigating the Trump administration, he passed them on to registered lobbyists.

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