Venezuela-Argenina: Trial for suitcase scandal begins in Miami
Defendant Franklin Durán appeared on Tuesday in court at the beginning of a federal trial against him for charges of having acted illegally as an agent of the Venezuelan government. Durán presumably took part in a plot intended to conceal the source of USD 800,000 in cash brought inside a suitcase in Argentina for political purposes. According to public prosecutors, Durán, 40, ran several operations on behalf of Venezuelan government intelligence services. The FBI taped dozen conversations between Durán and alleged accomplices, both on the phone and in restaurants and coffee bars in South Florida, AP reported. The screening of jury members started on Tuesday before federal judge Joan Lenard, as part of a proceeding expected to last up to six weeks.
Antonini, Kauffman and Durán to meet in the courthouse. A trial involving three Venezuelans and a Uruguayan accused in a Miami federal court of conspiring to act as covert agents of the Venezuelan government in US territory is set to begin on Tuesday. US District Judge Joan Lenard will lead the process against the four persons that have been accused of participating in a plot to prevent Venezuelan-American businessman Guido Antonini Wilson from disclosing the origin and destination of USD 800,000 that Antonini tried to smuggle in Argentina in a suitcase on March 4. Franklin Durán, a Venezuelan citizen and former partner of Antonini, will be the only defendant. Public prosecutor Thomas Mulvihill has charged him of colluding with the other three persons to force Antonini to cover the origin of the USD 800,000.The same charges will be brought against Venezuelan citizens José Cánchica Gómez, Carlos Kauffmann and Moisés Maionica, and the Uruguayan Rodolfo Wanseele Paciello. However, apart from Cánchica Gómez, which is at large, Durán was the only one who pleaded not guilty.