Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Monday, February 16, 2015

VENEZUELAN JUDGE GETS 80 MONTHS FROM MIAMI FEDERAL JUDGE FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

Judge Palmeri
The legal system in Venezuela remains a cesspool of corruption; Benny Palmeri-Bacchi, a former Venezuelan judge, was sentenced in US District Court in Miami to eighty months. The defendant, whose narcotics trafficking charge was dismissed in a plea agreement, entered a plea to Conspiracy to  Obstruct Justice, Money Laundering Conspiracy, and Extortion. His sentence exceeded what the Government suggested, as the Court  recognized his central role in a criminal conspiracy that also included two other senior Venezuelan PEPs, both of whom remain fugitives from justice.

When Alberto Marin Zamora, a Colombian Norte de Valle narcotics kingpin, was arrested in Venezuela,  Judge Palmeri-Bacchi, who was on the bench at the time, extorted $1.5m from him, to foil his extradition to the United States. To accomplish this,  he filed a bogus local criminal charge against Marin, to keep him in Venezuela. Palmeri later moved his criminal proceeds through a bank in Curacao, and thereafter into a bank in Florida, hence the money laundering charge.

Marin Zamora,  who was later extradited the the US, and convicted, cooperated with American authorities; Palmeri was arrested in Miami, when he arrived there, planning on visiting Disney World. The defendant must also serve three years of Supervised Release.

This case confirms the sorry nature of the Venezuelan court system, where the rule of law does not exist, and justice is for sale to the highest bidder.

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