Federal authorities arrested former Republican Miami Congressman David Rivera on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent Monday, The Associated Press reports.
Rivera, who served in Congress from 2011-2013, signed a $50 million consulting contract with the socialist Venezuelan government and lobbied politicians and other officials on Venezuela’s behalf in 2017, including advocating for the U.S. ending sanctions against the country. (RELATED: ‘Let Us Go’: Tampa Police Chief Resigns After Bodycam Caught Her Flashing Badge At Traffic Stop)
A federal grand jury in the Southern District of Florida indicted Rivera in November, according to CBS News. The eight-count indictment includes meetings in Washington, New York and Dallas. Rivera used code words in chat messages, referring to Maduro as the “bus driver,” a congressman as “Sombrero,” and millions of dollars as “melons.”
SCOOP: Ex Miami Congressman David Rivera has been arrested at Atlanta’s airport in connection to a criminal probe involving a $50 million consulting contract he signed with a U.S. affiliate of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. https://t.co/m371WKlVar
— Joshua Goodman (@APjoshgoodman) December 5, 2022
In July 2017 Rivera sent text messages to an unnamed U.S. Senator that read, “Remember, US should facilitate, not just support, a negotiated solution. No vengeance, reconciliation.”
a Delaware-based affiliate of The Venezuelan-owned Co sued Rivera’s firm Interamerican Consulting in 2020, alleging the former Congressman performed no work in his contract which he signed in 2017 for three months of “strategic consulting.”