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United States of America v. Fernando Ardila Rueda-Garcia
United State District Court for the Southern District of Texas - Laredo
Case Number: 5:16-cr-00019
Judge: Gary H. Miller
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Harris County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Alfredo Perez de la Rosa, Jr., Aisling O’Shea, Jeremy R. Sanders, Kristine Rollinson, John Pearson, Robert S. Johnson
Defendant's Attorney: Arturo Villarreal, III - FPD
Description: Laredo, TX - Florida Businessman Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery Charges in Connection With Venezuela Bribery Scheme
A partial owner of several Florida-based energy companies pleaded guilty to foreign bribery charges for his role in a scheme to corruptly secure contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
Fernando Ardila Rueda (Ardila), 49, of Miami, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston, to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and one count of violating the FCPA. U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller of the Southern District of Texas accepted the guilty plea. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2018.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea, Ardila conspired with U.S.-based businessmen Abraham Jose Shiera Bastidas (Shiera) and Roberto Enrique Rincon Fernandez (Rincon) to pay bribes and other things of value to PDVSA purchasing analysts. The bribes were paid to ensure that Shiera’s and Rincon’s companies were placed on PDVSA bidding panels and in order to obtain or retain business with PDVSA. From 2008 through 2014, while he was sales director, manager and partial owner of several of Shiera’s companies, Ardila provided entertainment and offered bribes to PDVSA officials based on a percentage of the value of contracts the officials helped to award to Shiera’s companies.
Rincon, Shiera and two other former employees of Shiera’s companies have also pleaded guilty in the case. Including Ardila, the Justice Department has announced a total of 10 individuals have pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing as part of a larger, ongoing investigation by the U.S. government into bribery at PDVSA.
ICE-HSI is conducting the ongoing investigation with assistance from IRS-Criminal Investigation.
The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the Swiss Federal Office of Justice also provided assistance.
The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.