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Venezuelan billionaire’s home raided in Dominican Republic

May 13, 2019
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This Sunday, May 12, 2019 photo released by Dominican Republic police shows watches seized from the property of fugitive Venezuelan billionaire businessman Samark López Bello in Verón, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Bello was recently indicted by federal prosecutors in New York for allegedly violating sanctions on Venezuela. (Dominican Republic Police via AP)

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Drug and money-laundering investigators joined by U.S. federal agents raided a villa linked to one of Venezuela’s richest men, Dominican officials say.

Billionaire Samark López Bello was recently indicted by federal prosecutors in New York for allegedly violating sanctions on Venezuela. He has close ties to former Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who is accused by the U.S. of being linked to Hezbollah and drug traffickers.

The raid Sunday at a villa in the tourist resort of Verón in the Punta Cana area resulted in the confiscation of more than 30 watches, three sport-utility vehicles, more than $43,000 in cash and other property, authorities said. Two Venezuelans and two Colombian citizens were arrested.

López Bello wasn’t present and is believed to be in Venezuela.

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