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Suitcase with $800,000 leads to guilty plea

Associated Press
Published March 4, 2008


MIAMI - A Venezuelan man pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an illegal foreign agent in a scheme to cover up smuggling $800,000 in cash supposedly destined for the campaign of Argentina's president, U.S. prosecutors said Monday.

Carlos Kauffmann, 35, a wealthy Venezuelan businessman, entered his guilty plea Friday. Prosecutors said they would seek to drop another related charge after his sentencing May 12, when he faces up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors said they could recommend a sentence lower than the maximum if his cooperation helped in the case against three other men still facing charges.

In December, U.S. prosecutors charged Kauffmann and four others of trying to conceal the Venezuelan government's role in trying to deliver the money in a suitcase last summer to the campaign of Cristina Fernandez, who won Argentina's presidential race. Fernandez and Venezuela deny that they were involved.

The plea is the second in the case. In January, Moises Maionica, 36, pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

[Last modified March 3, 2008, 23:37:28]

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