Venezuela's Chavez expects arrest warrant from U.S.

The Miami HeraldMay 25, 2010 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the U.S. government could be preparing an arrest warrant against him and some of his collaborators in a money-laundering case being processed at a federal court in Miami.

Citing the name of the federal judge overseeing the process, Joan Lenard, and other facts about the case, Chavez warned at a cabinet meeting Thursday night that it shouldn't surprise anyone if she issues a warrant for his arrest.

"Don't be surprised if it's released tomorrow that Chavez is the one laundering money and, therefore, Judge Lenard is ordering his arrest," he said, adding that warrants may also be issued to arrest vice president Elias Jaua and the minister of Planning and Finance, Jorge Giordiani.

"This is a high-level operation, which is why I am alerting the people!" Chavez warned in the meeting, broadcast on state television station Venezolana de Television.

Chavez was referring to an operation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed in April, in which 15 people were arrested, most of them Venezuelan, under suspicion of laundering drug-trafficking money.

Lenard is the judge in the case.

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