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Sanctioned TV tycoon was US point man in failed Venezuela coup – report

Sanctioned TV tycoon was US point man in failed Venezuela coup – report
A TV mogul wanted in the US on money laundering and bribery charges was a mediator between Washington and Caracas officials, offering them sanctions relief in exchange for turning on the government, a new report says.

One of the key figures behind the abortive April 30 uprising intended to oust President Nicolas Maduro in favor of the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido was Raúl Gorrín, president of the TV network Globovision, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Gorrín, who fled the US after he was indicted for money laundering and bribery last November, was acting as a go-between with three senior Venezuelan officials who were seen as key to regime change in Caracas: chief justice of the Supreme Court Maikel Moreno, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, and military counter-intelligence chief General Ivan Hernández.

Also on rt.com Coup fizzles? Guaido’s mentor takes refuge in Chilean embassy as 25 military seek asylum in Brazil’s

US national security adviser John Bolton brought up their names on the day of the uprising, but they ended up standing by Maduro – and the day was lost when Guaido’s followers sought asylum in various embassies around Caracas.

Citing the Venezuelan publication Armando Info, the WSJ said that Gorrin was offering the prospect of the US removing sanctions against Venezuelan officials if they switched their support to Guaido. As an argument, he would bring up the lifting of sanctions against his wife,  Maria Alexandra Perdomo.

Also on rt.com Food, fuel ships to Venezuela are being sabotaged, says Maduro

Both Gorrín and Perdomo were put on the US blacklist in January, but in March the US Treasury removed Perdomo's name from the sanctions register, without an explanation.

In August 2018, Gorrin had been indicted by US officials in Florida for money laundering and bribery; the charges were made public in November. While the WSJ could not get an official confirmation on the story, or a response from Gorrín or anyone in Caracas, the controversial US special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams confirmed that Washington has been using sanctions in an effort to influence government officials to defect.

"We have been messaging people in the regime publicly and repeatedly that we are absolutely willing to remove sanctions on any individual who assists in restoring democracy to Venezuela," Abrams said.

Despite the repeated failures by Guaido and his supporters to overthrow the government, officials in the Trump administration continue to believe that the sanctions are a powerful leverage that has “succeeded in tempting” officials loyal to Maduro to “engage” with the US-backed opposition, and intend to continue using them to that effect.

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