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Enforcement Action Dataset


Initiation Date:    07/27/2018  Information

Prosecuting Agency:    U.S. Department of Justice

Type of Action:    DOJ Criminal Proceeding

Docket or Case Number:    19-cr-00341

Court:    S.D. Texas

Name of Prosecuting Attorneys:   

  • Sarah E. Edwards, Trial Attorney, Fraud Section, Criminal Division
  • Jeremy R. Sanders, Trial Attorney, Fraud Section, Criminal Division
  • John P. Pearson, Assistant United States Attorney
  • Robert S. Johnson, Assistant United States Attorney
  • Kristine Rollinson, Assistant United States Attorney
  • Daniel Marcet, Assistant United States Attorney
  • Ryan K. Patrick, United States Attorney
  • Robert A. Zink, Acting Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division
  • Sonali D. Patel, Trial Attorney, Fraud Section, Criminal Division

US Assisting Agencies:   

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Foreign Enforcement Action/Investigation:    Unknown

Foreign Assistance:    Unknown

Origin of the Proceeding:    Unknown

Whistleblower:    Unknown

Case Status:    Resolved

Summary  Information

Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Testino was a U.S. citizen who controlled a number of Panama-based energy company that supplied equipment and services to Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. ("PDVSA"), the state-owned oil company of Venezuela. Gonzalez co-owned several companies with Tulio Anibal Farias-Perez ("Farias") who was charged in a separate enforcement action.

Bariven, S.A., was a wholly-owned subsidiary of PDVSA which was responsible for produring goods and services on behalf of PDVSA.

According to the allegations made in the complaint, between 2012 and 2013, Gonzalez made a series of payments to a high-level executive at Bariven in exchange for contracts for Gonzalez's companies. The Bariven executive further prioritized payments to Gonzalez's companies over other vendors, assited Gonzalez in receiving priority to meet with PDVSA's board of directors, and ensured that Gonzalez's contracts with PDVSA were awarded in U.S. dollars instead of Venezuelan bolivars. In all, Gonzalez is alleged to have paid at least $629,000 in bribes to the Bariven executive.

On July 27, 2018, the DOJ filed a criminal complaint in the Southern District of Texas against Gonzalez alleging conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA as well as direct violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. On May 14, 2019, the DOJ filed an Information in the case, realleging the FCPA violations and adding an allegation of failure to file a foreign bank account report. On May 29, 2019, Gonzalez entered into a plea agreement with the DOJ, the details of which were never made public. Though Gonzalez was scheduled to be sentenced on March 24, 2023, news reports indicate the he committed suicide just before the sentencing date. Accordingly, on January 2, 2024, the DOJ moved to dismiss the case, which the court granted on January 3.

In a related case on February 7, 2020, the DOJ filed a single count Information in the Southern District of Texas against Farias alleging conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. The DOJ says that Farias pled guilty on February 19, 2020, but the details of the plea agreement are unknown because it remains under seal. On January 22, 2024, the court sentenced Farias to three years probation and ordered him to forfeit $1.5 million and to pay a mandatory assessment of $100.

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