U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Statement by Secretary Michael R. Pompeo
July 21, 2020
Today, I am announcing a reward under the Transnational Organized Crime Program of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Venezuelan National, Maikel Jose Moreno Perez for participating in transnational organized crime. I am also announcing the designation of Moreno Perez and his wife under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operation, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94) for his involvement in significant corruption. These designations reaffirm the U.S. commitment to combating corruption and transnational organized crime in Venezuela. The United States continues to stand with the people of Venezuela in their fight against corruption and for the peaceful restoration of democracy.
Over the last several years, Moreno Perez, in his position as the President of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in Venezuela, has personally received money or property bribes to influence the outcome of civil and criminal cases in Venezuela. Moreno Perez received the bribes in exchange for judicial actions, such as directing lower
–court judges to release specific defendants or to dismiss particular cases, in over 20 judicial proceedings. Moreno Perez was charged in a federal complaint filed on March 12, 2020 in the Southern District of Florida with money laundering offenses associated with the bribery.
In May 2017, Moreno Perez was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) as a Specially Designated National (SDN) pursuant to Executive Order 13692 regarding Venezuela. OFAC took this action after the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice made a series of rulings that attempted to strip away authority from the elected Venezuelan legislature.
Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP)
This reward offer is made under the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP). Together with the Narcotics Rewards Program, more than 75 transnational criminals have been brought to justice since these programs began in 1986.
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs manages these rewards programs in close coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the FBI, the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI), and other U.S. agencies. This action demonstrates the State Department’s commitment to support law enforcement efforts and a whole of government approach to combatting transnational organized crime.
Designation Pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Annual Appropriations Bill – Antikleptocracy Provision
Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments, along with their immediate family members, for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals are indefinitely ineligible for entry into the United States. The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members. In addition to Moreno Perez, the Department is publicly designating his spouse, Debora Sacha Menicucci Anzola.
The Department will continue to use these authorities to promote accountability for corrupt actors and transnational criminals in this region and globally.