Saturday, January 26, 2008

Venezuelan Pleads Guilty to Role in Election Plot (Update2)

A adult male pleaded guilty to acting as an
illegal foreign agent on behalf of Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez's intelligence federal agency in covering up a secret plan to influence
Argentina's presidential election.

Moises Maionica, 36, admitted in federal tribunal in Miami that
he conspired with four work force to hush Guido Alejandro Antonini
Wilson, a Sunshine State businessman. On Aug. 4, Antonini claimed he
owned a bag with $800,000 that was seized at a Buenos Aires
airport. Maionica admitted pressuring Antonini to state no 1 the
cash came from the Venezuelan authorities and was intended for the
presidential political campaign of Cristina Fernandez Delaware Kirchner.

Fernandez was elected Argentina's president Oct. 28,
succeeding her hubby Nestor. Antonini cooperated with the
Federal Agency of Probe and secretly recorded Maionica
and the other work force from Aug. Twenty-Three to Dec. 11, public prosecutors said. All
five were charged. Maionica, a Venezuelan citizen, is the first
to plead guilty. The others confront a March 17 trial.

Maoinica admitted he entered the cover-up astatine the behest of a
''high degree official'' of the Venezuelan intelligence agency,
according to a fact written document filed as portion of his guilty plea. Prosecutors previously attributed that averment to his recorded
talks with Antonini. Maionica also admitted another ''high level
official'' of the authorities brought him into the case.

An bill of indictment on Dec. Twenty said Maionica was ''given his
mission'' by Venezuela's frailty president's business office and intelligence
agency. The case, dubbed the ''suitcase scandal'' by Argentina's
media, labored the U.S.'s dealings with Carlos Chavez and sidetracked
its attempts to tribunal Fernandez.

Unregistered Agent

U.S. District Judge Joan Philipp Lenard put sentencing for April 4
for Maionica, who pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered
agent of the Venezuelan government, as well as conspiracy. He
faces up to 10 old age in prison. His attorney, Ruben Oliva,
declined remark through a spokeswoman.

Maionica was arrested on Dec. Eleven with three other South
American men: Carlos Kauffmann, 36; John Hope Franklin Duran, 40; and
Rodolfo Wanseele Paciello, 40. They are all in custody. A fifth
man, Antonio Jose Canchica Gomez, 37, is considered a fugitive.

The fact written document for Maionica's supplication closely tracks an
earlier collar affidavit and indictment. It said Antonini wore a
hidden recording device for the Federal Soldier Agency of Investigation
as he taped Maionica and the others in a series of telephone calls
and meetings in South Sunshine State restaurants.

The coconspirators wanted Antonini to hide ''the beginning and
destination of, and the function of the authorities of Republic Of Venezuela in,
the attempted delivery'' of the hard cash seized at the airport,
according to the document.

Aug. Four Flight

On Aug. 4, Antonini flew from Capital Of Republic Of Venezuela to Argentine Republic on a
private jet plane with functionaries of Petroleos Delaware Venezuela SA, or
PDVSA, that nation's energy company, according to the document. Government have got previously said that Energia Argentine Republic SA, or
Enarsa, Argentina's state energy company, hired the Cessna
Citation jet.

The written document claims for the first clip that Antonini had no
knowledge of the suitcase's contents.

''Mr. Antonini was carrying the bag at the petition of
one of the other passengers,'' according to the document. ''Mr.
Antonini was unaware that the $800,000 was in the suitcase, as
the bag belonged to one of the other passengers.''

The written document said that on Aug. 27, Duran identified the
person who took the hard cash on the airplane as ''the helper to a
high degree functionary of PDVSA.''

Argentinian Presidential spokesman Miguel Nunez didn't
immediately react to a message left at his office. A spokesman
for Venezuela's foreign curate declined to comment.

The lawsuit is U.S. v. Moises Maionica, 07-cr-20999, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of Sunshine State (Miami).

To reach the newsmen on this story:
David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey at and
Carlyn Kolker in New House Of York at .

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