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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
February 8, 2023, Filed
No. 21-20658 CONSOLIDATED WITH No. 22-20377
[*726] Kurt D. Engelhardt, Circuit Judge:
This appeal concerns an alleged international bribery scheme between U.S.-based [*727] businesses and Venezuelan officials. On defendants-appellees' motions, the district court dismissed all counts charged against them and suppressed statements made during an interview. The government timely appealed. We REVERSE and REMAND.
According to the indictment, Daisy Teresa Rafoi Bleuler ("Rafoi"), a citizen of Switzerland and a partner in a Swiss wealth-management firm, and Paulo Jorge Da Costa Casqueiro Murta ("Murta"), a citizen of Portugal and Switzerland and an employee of a different Swiss wealth-management firm, (together, "Defendants"), engaged in an international bribery scheme wherein U.S.-based businesses paid bribes to Venezuelan officials for priority payment of invoices and other favorable treatment from Venezuela's state-owned energy company. The indictment alleges that between 2011 and 2013, Defendants, [**3] working as agents for their co-conspirators, laundered the proceeds of the bribery scheme through numerous financial transactions, including through international wire transfers to and from bank accounts that they opened overseas in the names of various companies. Specifically, the indictment provides that in the Southern District of Texas and elsewhere, Defendants communicated with their co-conspirators through e-mail, phone, and various messaging applications to set up bank accounts into which their co-conspirators' bribe payments could be deposited and created false justifications for those payments to conceal and disguise their nature, source, and ownership. There is no allegation that Rafoi was ever physically present in the United States during the scheme.1 Murta, however, purportedly traveled to Miami, Florida, to meet with co-conspirators in furtherance of the scheme.
A grand jury returned a nineteen-count indictment charging Defendants and others with: (1) conspiring to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h); (2) conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the "FCPA"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-2(a), 78dd-3(a); and (3) money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), 2 (Rafoi) and 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(2)(A), 2 (Murta). Both Defendants [**4] moved to dismiss the indictment. In addition, Murta moved to suppress statements made during a March 2018 interview. The district court granted the three motions. This appeal followed.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
59 F.4th 718 *; 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 3097 **
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff—Appellant, versus DAISY TERESA RAFOI BLEULER, Defendant—Appellee.UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff—Appellant, versus PAULO JORGE DA COSTA CASQUIERO MURTA, Defendant—Appellee.
Subsequent History: Opinion withdrawn by, Substituted opinion at United States v. Bleuler, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 4995 (5th Cir. Tex., Feb. 28, 2023)
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. USDC Nos. 4:17-CR-514-7, 4:17-CR-514-8.
United States v. Rafoi-Bleuler, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 263507, 2021 WL 9884704 (S.D. Tex., Nov. 10, 2021)
indictment, district court, interview, questioning, custody, alleges, interrogation, vague, reasonable person, domestic concern, limitations, tolling statute, circumstances, alteration, tolling, statute of limitations, extraterritorial, subject-matter, investigate, money-laundering, suppress, charges, unconstitutionally vague, grand jury, non-accusatory, quotation, marks, criminal investigation, freedom of movement, take place
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