Thursday, October 29, 2020

Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar arrested in corruption probe

-

City Councilman Jose Huizar was accused Tuesday of accepting more than $1.5 million in bribes and other benefits to approve or stall large building projects and shape the Los Angeles development landscape, prosecutors said.

Huizar, 51, was taken into custody at his Boyle Heights home, officials said. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison on allegations that he masterminded a “pay-to-play” scheme involving real estate developers.

“Mr. Huizar was busy enjoying the fruits of his alleged corruption while his criminal enterprise sold the city to the highest bidder behind the backs of taxpayers,” said Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, in a statement Tuesday.

The mayor and other city leaders have been calling for Huizar to resign since his former special assistant agreed to plead guilty in the bribery scheme. The city council president pledged Tuesday to begin the process to remove Huizar, who has represented a district that encompasses downtown and the eastern part of Los Angeles since 2005, from office.

- Advertisement -

Prosecutors charged Huizar with one count of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Authorities allege the councilman and his associates violated multiple laws, including bribery, honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering.

The U.S. attorney scheduled a late-morning press conference to discuss the arrest.

“This case pulled back the curtain on rampant corruption at City Hall,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement. “Councilman Huizar violated the public trust to a staggering degree, allegedly soliciting and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from multiple sources over many years.”

There was no immediate response to an email seeking comment that was sent to Huizar’s communications director. The name of his attorney was not immediately available.

- Advertisement -

Last month, former Huizar aide George Esparza, 33, agreed to plead to a count of racketeering conspiracy, which could carry a maximum 20-year prison term, according to prosecutors.

At the time, City Council President Nury Martinez called for Huizar to immediately step down and was joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said he was sickened by the corruption allegations.

Esparza, who left his city job in 2018, acknowledged in his plea agreement that from 2013 to 2018, he and a person identified in documents as “Councilmember A” were involved in a scheme to sell influence to several developers, including the billionaire head of a Chinese company who wanted to build a 77-story downtown skyscraper.

Huizar chaired the City Council’s powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee until 2018, when he was stripped of that and other assignments following FBI raids on his home — where federal agents found $129,000 in cash in a closet — and offices.

Esparza was the fourth person to agree to plead guilty in the LA corruption probe. The others include a real estate developer, political fundraiser and a former councilman, Mitchell Englander.

Englander is accused of obstructing an investigation into tens of thousands of dollars in cash, female escort services and other perks.

MUST READ

Nigerian court declines to issue international arrest warrant for fugitive ex-Petroleum Minister in corruption case

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, refused an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for an arrest...

South Korea’s former Vice Justice Minister sentenced to jail for bribery and sexual favors

Former Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui, the figure at the center of one of Korea’s biggest political sex scandals, was placed under pretrial detention...

Beam Suntory Inc. fined $19.6 million in foreign bribery case

Beam Suntory Inc. (Beam), a Chicago-based company that produces and sells distilled beverages, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $19,572,885 to...

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World

Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Australian court approves $920 million Westpac money laundering fine

The Federal Court of Australia has agreed on the deal struck between the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and Westpac, ordering the Australian...

Former Harris County deputy constable pleads guilty to transporting drug money and heroin

A former Harris County deputy constable and her husband pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, according...

Operators of fake theology school accused of stealing $12 million in student aid

Six people from three states are charged with defrauding $12 million from federal student aid programs by allegedly enrolling students into a theology school...

Namibia probes oil firm Acer petroleum over bribes paid to government officials

THE mines and energy ministry says it is investigating allegations that an oil company bribed some senior officials to fast-track licence applications. The senior officials...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks