A Washington, D.C., law firm is representing Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed president of Venezuela.
Arnold & Porter says its duties may include “making contact with U.S. government officials concerning the preservation of Venezuela’s assets in the United States.”
Trump officials in late January said they had given Guaidó control over Venezuela’s bank accounts and property in the United States.
A statement filed Feb. 11 under the Foreign Agents Registration Act says Arnold & Porter:
…was engaged by the foreign principal on January 31, 2019. The current arrangement is that the foreign principal will pay the registrant on an hourly fee basis and provide reimbursement for expenses. If the parties execute a formal written agreement or reach an agreement through an exchange of correspondence, the registrant will file the appropriate amendment with such documents.
The registrant will advise the foreign principal concerning U.S. economic sanctions, corporate and banking law, U.S. litigation, and international arbitration.
The registrant may engage in political activities on behalf of the foreign principal, including making contact with U.S. government officials concerning the preservation of Venezuela’s assets in the United States, the establishment of a diplomatic presence, and economic and humanitarian assistance.
Arnold & Porter is dealing directly with Guaidó’s U.S. representative, Carlos Vecchio, a lawyer and exiled opposition leader.
The law firm filed FARA documents 10 times from 1984 to 2001 to report that it was representing the government of Venezuela.
An Aug. 20, 2001, filing said Venezuela’s finance minister under then-President Hugo Chávez would pay Arnold & Porter up to $2 million.
But, the agreement said, “if some significant operation of external debt refinancing with complex structures presents itself, said amount will be increased to reflect the costs of the operation. In this case the maximum amount authorized…would be increased by ONE MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS (US$1,200,000.00), which as a consequence will increase the maximum amount to be paid by way of honorary professionals up to the amount of THREE MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS (US$3,200,000.00), paid in no other currency than U.S. dollars.”
The agreement also allowed reimbursement of expenses.
The MINISTRY agrees to reimburse THE COUNSEL for all expenses, including transportation fares and travel expenses incurred in connection with this agreement, up to a maximum amount of ONE MILLION U.S. DOLLARS (US$1,000,000.00), paid in no other currency than U.S. dollars.
Now retired partner Mark Stumpf represented Arnold & Porter. Two names are shown as representatives of the Venezuelan government. One was José Alejandro Rojas Ramirez, Venezuela’s finance minister. The other was Nelson José Merentes Díaz, who also served as a finance minister. He was later president of the country’s central bank, and was accused of corruption and misspending while serving under Nicolás Maduro.