Ex-congressman indicted in probe of Venezuelan influence

Former Republican Rep. David Rivera of Florida was arrested in Atlanta on Monday on federal charges that include failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the Department of Justice.

The eight-count indictment alleges that Rivera and a co-defendant, Esther Nuhfer, met with several US officials about normalizing US relations with the Venezuelan government without registering with the DOJ, as required by law.

Rivera, who is Cuban American, was paid millions of dollars for his work by PDV USA, a US subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run oil company, to lobby American politicians for improved relations between the two nations, according to the indictment, and prevent "the United States from imposing additional economic sanctions" against Venezuela's president and "other members of his regime."

US officials said Rivera signed a $50 million contract with PDV USA in 2017.

Rivera served in Congress from 2011 to 2013.