US court sentences Bolivia ex-minister to 6 years for bribery scheme News
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US court sentences Bolivia ex-minister to 6 years for bribery scheme

A federal court Wednesday sentenced former Bolivian minister Arturo Murillo to 70 months in prison, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice. Murillo was convicted of corruption and conspiracy to launder bribes in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

In October 2022, Murillo pleaded guilty to accepting at least $532,000 in bribes from a Florida-based company in exchange for assisting the company in securing a $5.6 million contract with the Bolivian defence ministry in 2019. The proceeds of the agreement were laundered through US bank accounts which he accessed in Miami through a family member.

Murillo was arrested in the US in 2021, and the Bolivian government has called for his extradition on multiple impending criminal charges associated with the scheme. Murillo’s co-conspirators—his former chief of staff and three men connected to the Florida-based military equipment supplier—were sentenced in June 2022 for their roles in the bribery scheme.

In a conference on Wednesday, Bolivian Attorney-General Wilfredo Chavez confirmed that Murillo’s sentencing would advance extradition proceedings. “Justice has spoken in the United States. We are satisfied with this judicial decision and we are going to make efforts for judicial actions (of extradition),” Chavez said.

Murillo served as interior minister for President Jeanine Anez’s interim government which took power in 2019 following political turmoil leading to President Evo Morales’ resignation, and fled Bolivia shortly after Morales’ party reclaimed power in 2020.