The Venezuelan businessman who fatally shot his 3-year-old son and then himself in Coconut Grove on Wednesday, police said, was set to be sentenced in federal court in Houston for his role in a federal bribery scheme, according to online court records.
José Manuel González Testino, 53, also agreed in January to award $14 million to the government, in a judgment scheduled for March 24 in the Southern District of Texas.
He was accused of bribing officials of the Venezuelan public energy company (PDVSA) and its subsidiary, Houston-based Citgo Petroleum Corporation, from 2012 to 2018 to secure and detain by corruption of energy and logistics contracts, according to the US Department of Justice.
His case is part of a larger investigation into corruption linked to Venezuela’s oil interest payments.
González Testino, identified as a resident of Miami, pleaded guilty in May 2019 to three counts: one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), one count of violation of FCPA regulations and one count of non-reporting of foreign bank accounts. . He was released on $5 million bail two months after his guilty plea. He had spent nearly a year in federal custody.
In January, prosecutors filed a sentencing recommendation in the case, but it remains sealed, so the public cannot know whether the government has recommended a prison sentence.
Gonzalez’s attorney, Edward Shohat, told NBC 6, “I’m sure the case had no part in what happened last night.”
After his arrest at Miami International Airport in 2018, before he could board a flight to Venezuela, a federal agent testified that the government tied González to $50 million in foreign bank accounts, condominiums and a house in the Miami area. Switzerland and Spain, and a private plane.
The condo where the murder-suicide took place is owned by his younger brother, Walter Alejandro Gonzalez, who is facing a foreclosure lawsuit alleging he owes nearly $3 million on the Grove unit in Grand Bay, according to Miami-Dade court records.
The complaint states that Walter González defaulted on the 2019 mortgage seven months after obtaining the loan. The 4,800 square foot property, bought for nearly $6 million in 2016, is listed online as being for sale for $9 million.