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U.S. Congress | Texas Democratic Rep. and Wife Charged After Collecting $600,000 in Bribes from Azerbaijan

  • May 3, 2024
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If the United States helped us put Haitian leaders in prison for corruption, there might not be one left to lead the Presidential Transitional Council, a human rights activist comments. Ariel Henry, the corrupt cynic, for all the harm done to Haiti in 30 months, would not find asylum in California either, he adds.

The charges were announced by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday, shortly after the congressman protested his innocence in a statement.

Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar and his wife have been indicted by federal prosecutors on conspiracy and bribery charges after allegedly receiving nearly $600,000 from an Azerbaijani-controlled company and a Mexican bank.

The charges were announced by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday, shortly after Mr. Cuellar protested his innocence.

Between 2014 and 2021, Mr. Cuellar and his wife Imelda allegedly accepted nearly $600,000 in bribes from an Azerbaijani-controlled energy company and a Mexican bank, and in exchange, the congressman allegedly agreed to promote the country’s and bank’s interests in the United States, according to the indictment.

Money was also allegedly laundered through a series of shell companies and middlemen in shell companies owned by Ms Cuellar.

Mr. Cuellar is said to have agreed, among other things, to influence legislation favorable to Azerbaijan and to deliver a pro-Azerbaijani speech before the United States House of Representatives.

The announcement comes after the congressman issued a statement earlier Friday saying that “everything I have done in Congress has been in service to the people of South Texas.”

“I want to make it clear that my wife and I are innocent of these allegations,” Mr. Cuellar said. “Before acting, I proactively sought legal advice from the House Ethics Committee, which provided me with more than one written opinion, as well as an additional opinion from a law firm. national lawyers.

“Furthermore, we requested to meet with prosecutors in Washington DC to explain the facts to them, but they refused to discuss the case with us or hear our side of the case.

He added that the actions he took in Congress were “consistent with the actions of many of my colleagues and in the best interests of the American people.”

A conservative Democrat, Mr. Cuellar has long been a target of progressives because of his opposition to abortion rights. In 2020 and 2022, Jessica Cisneros mounted a primary challenge against him, sending him to the runoff, where he won each time.

Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have always supported him and believe he is the only Democrat capable of winning in the Rio Grande Valley, a strongly conservative region populated by Latinos. In his last primary election, in March, he was unopposed.