Five Charged in Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme

Former Minister of Government of Bolivia, Owner of Florida-Based Company, and Three Others Charged in Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme

Miami, Fl. (STL.News) Two Bolivian nationals and three United States citizens were arrested last week in Florida and Georgia on criminal charges related to their alleged roles in a bribery and money laundering scheme.  The former Minister of the Government of Bolivia and another former Bolivian official are accused of receiving bribes paid by a U.S. company and individuals to secure a Bolivian government contract, and then using the U.S. financial system to launder those bribes.

According to court documents, Arturo Carlos Murillo Prijic, 57, Sergio Rodrigo Mendez Mendizabal, 51, Luis Berkman, 58, Bryan Berkman, 36, and Philip Lichtenfeld, 48, engaged in the bribery scheme between approximately November 2019 and April 2020.  During that time, Luis Berkman, Bryan Berkman, and Lichtenfeld paid $602,000 in bribes to Bolivian government officials for the benefit of Murillo, the former Minister of Government of Bolivia, Mendez, the former Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Government of Bolivia, and another Bolivian government official.  The bribes were paid so that Bryan Berkman’s Florida-based company would obtain and retain business from the Bolivian Ministry of Defense, specifically, an approximately $5.6 million contract to provide to the Bolivian Ministry of Defense tear gas and other non-lethal equipment. 

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