U.S. brings more charges in Venezuelan bank kickback case

NEW YORK, June 12 Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:08pm EDT

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NEW YORK, June 12 (Reuters) - A managing partner at broker-dealer Direct Access Partners has been arrested on charges he participated in a scheme to pay bribes to a Venezuelan bank official, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Ernesto Lujan, 50, was accused of conspiracy to pay bribes to Maria De Los Angeles Gonzalez De Hernandez, a senior official at Venezuela's state economic development bank.

The alleged scheme generated more than $60 million in fees for Direct Access Partners through business directed by Gonzalez, who the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office said received more than $5 million in kickback payments.

The charges follow ones announced in May against Gonzalez and two other employees of Direct Access Partners.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought its own lawsuit at that time, said on Wednesday it had expanded its complaint to add charges against Lujan, who it was the former head of the Miami office of Direct Access Partners.

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