- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

MIAMI (AP) - A wealthy Venezuelan sent by President Hugo Chavez’s government to cover up a political scandal involving a suitcase full of cash is looking at prison time in the U.S.

A Miami federal judge is scheduled Monday to sentence 41-year-old Franklin Duran, convicted in November of conspiracy and acting as an illegal foreign agent. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years, but Duran will likely get less.

Duran was leader of a group of South American men who came to Miami in 2007 to cover up the source of a suitcase containing $800,000 in cash that was discovered in Argentina. Testimony showed the money was a gift from the Chavez government to the campaign of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez.

Three other men pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison.

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