Rep. Henry Cuellar and his wife indicted for accepting bribes linked to Azerbaijan

Texas Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar and his wife have been indicted by the Justice Department on charges of conspiracy and accepting close to $600,000 in bribes from foreign entities.

Cuellar and his wife, Imelda Cuellar, are accused of accepting approximately $600,000 in bribes, starting as early as December 2014. The bribes were allegedly received from an oil and gas company owned by the government of Azerbaijan, as well as a bank based in Mexico City.

According to the indictment, Rep. Cuellar’s wife allegedly established fake front companies to launder payments by claiming to offer consulting services to the two companies. However, she was found to have done very little or no actual work under the contracts. Meanwhile, Rep. Cuellar was making promises to use his position to support Azerbaijan’s foreign policy and exert influence over high-ranking officials in the executive branch for the benefit of the Mexico City bank.

The indictment states that Cuellar played a role in shaping various legislative measures concerning the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. He included language in legislation and committee reports that favored Azerbaijan, and he also provided consultation to representatives of Azerbaijan as they lobbied the U.S. government.

During his time as a co-chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus, Cuellar had numerous meetings with Azerbaijan officials, including Ambassador Elin Suleymanov.

According to the indictment, Cuellar is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for using his influence to benefit the Mexico City bank and its affiliates by manipulating federal regulation of the financial industry.

According to the indictment, Cuellar is accused of providing guidance and exerting influence on executive branch officials in relation to anti-money laundering enforcement practices that posed a risk to the bank’s business interests. He is also alleged to have advocated for legislation that aimed to prevent federal regulation of the payday lending industry and supported changes to money-laundering statutes that were favored by the Mexican corporate conglomerate to which the bank belonged.

Cuellar and his wife appeared before a magistrate judge in Houston, as stated by the Justice Department.

Cuellar and his wife are facing several charges, and if found guilty, they could be subjected to maximum penalties for each offense. These charges include:

– Two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery of a federal official and to have a public official act as an agent of a foreign principal, carrying a sentence of five years in prison for each count.
– Two counts of bribery of a federal official, with a potential sentence of 15 years in prison for each count.
– Two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, which could result in a 20-year prison sentence for each count.
– Two counts of violating the ban on public officials acting as agents of a foreign principal, carrying a maximum sentence of two years in prison for each count.
– One count of conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering, with a potential prison term of 20 years.
– Five counts of money laundering, which could lead to a 20-year prison sentence for each count.

Cuellar asserted his innocence on Friday.

In a statement, Cuellar firmly denies the allegations against both himself and his wife, stating their innocence. He emphasizes that his actions in Congress have always been driven by his commitment to serving the people of South Texas.

According to Christie Stephenson, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Cuellar will temporarily step down from his position as ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee while the investigation is ongoing.

According to Stephenson, it is important to remember that Rep. Cuellar is entitled to his day in court and should be presumed innocent throughout the entire legal process.

Representing Texas’ 28th Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, Cuellar has served as a member of Congress since 2005.

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