A Swiss banker has become a star witness to a U.S. criminal investigation into how Venezuelan kleptocrats stole billions in oil wealth from their country.
While President Hugo Chávez was selecting his successor, Nicolás Maduro, Mattias Krull was working as a banker for the Julius Baer group. He was the private banker for the Bolichicos, a wealthy group offspring of Venezuela’s Bolvarian revolution, and helped them move their overnight fortunes into offshore accounts. One of Krull’s clients had been one of Maduro’s stepsons.
In 2018, Krull was arrested on money laundering charges at Miami’s international airport while vacationing with his family. Now, Krull has become an all-star witness to a U.S. federal investigation known as Operation Money Flight, which plans to uncover how Venezuelan kleptocrats stole billions in oil wealth from their country.
Since pleading guilty in 2018, Krull has assisted many other investigations. He has also helped uncover shell companies and straw men Venezuelans use to hide their illegally acquired wealth, among other good deeds.
These efforts earned Krull a reduced sentence, his 10 year prison sentence cut by 65%, one of the largest reductions to ever occur in Miami federal court. The judge also lessened Krull’s probation conditions, allowing him to remove the ankle monitor that kept him inside his home from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. He is scheduled to start his 42-month prison sentence this summer.
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