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Congressman and Wife Indicted for Alleged Bribery and Money Laundering Schemes

Fraud, Bribery & CorruptionCongressman and Wife Indicted for Alleged Bribery and Money Laundering Schemes

An indictment was revealed in the Southern District of Texas today, accusing U.S. Congressman Enrique Roberto “Henry” Cuellar and his wife, Imelda Cuellar, both from Laredo, Texas, of involvement in two corruption schemes. These schemes allegedly involved bribery, unlawful foreign influence, and money laundering. The Cuellars appeared in court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo in Houston.

According to court documents, from at least December 2014 to at least November 2021, Congressman Cuellar and Imelda Cuellar allegedly accepted around $600,000 in bribes from two foreign entities: a government-owned oil and gas company in Azerbaijan and a bank in Mexico City. The bribe money was purportedly laundered through fake consulting contracts, passing through intermediary companies into shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar, who reportedly did little or no genuine work under these contracts. In return for the bribes from the Azerbaijani company, Congressman Cuellar allegedly agreed to use his position to influence U.S. foreign policy favoring Azerbaijan. For the bribes from the Mexican bank, he purportedly agreed to influence legislative activities and pressure high-ranking U.S. Executive Branch officials regarding measures benefiting the bank.

Congressman Cuellar and Imelda Cuellar each face multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery of a federal official and to have a public official act as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), bribery of a federal official, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, violating the ban on public officials acting as agents of a foreign principal required to register under FARA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. The maximum penalties for these charges range from two years to 20 years imprisonment.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen, the FBI, and DOS-OIG announced the indictment.

Acting Deputy Chief Marco A. Palmieri, Acting Deputy Chief Rosaleen O’Gara, and Trial Attorney Celia Choy from the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, along with Trial Attorney Garrett Coyle from the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, are prosecuting the case.

It’s essential to note that an indictment is an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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