At a time when so many Venezuelans are suffering through political, economic, and social upheaval and violence, it can seem hard to come by good news. Today, however, we do have some very good news.
Gilberto Jesus Imery Gonzalez, a Venezuelan national and businessman currently living in the United States, has prevailed in having his name removed from INTERPOL's Red Notice list after being falsely charged with a financial crime by the Venezuelan government. His story in this blog's sidebar marked, is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
GILBERTO JESUS IMERY GONZALEZ SUCCEEDS IN REMOVING INTERPOL RED NOTICE
Miami, Florida, U.S.A. - Gilberto Jesus Imery Gonzalez, a Venezuelan national and businessman, has prevailed in his challenge to the INTERPOL Red Notice issued in his name. Based on the information submitted in his challenge, INTERPOL has deleted the Red Notice in Mr. Imery’s name from its databases.
INTERPOL’s decision to remove the Red Notice is an important step in Mr. Imery’s efforts to clear his name of false criminal charges that were filed against him by an individual with close ties to Venezuela’s Chávez/Maduro administration.
Like many other business owners in Venezuela, Mr. Imery was subjected to unjustified and unfair treatment in Venezuela’s criminal justice system due to his status as a private businessman who opposed the Venezuelan government’s political agenda.
The case began when Mr. Imery’s privately held business, which was engaged in construction, transportation, and mining, became the subject of a private business dispute. Mr. Imery was a former partner in the Venezuelan-based company, and was forced to relinquish all of his shares in his company to individuals closely connected to the Venezuelan government. Mr. Imery’s former partner orchestrated a criminal investigation against him. Ultimately, despite the lack of evidence of any criminal activity, Venezuelan authorities filed charges of fraud and misuse of public funds against Mr. Imery.
Mr. Imery had moved to the United States by the time charges were filed, and only learned that Venezuelan authorities had obtained a Red Notice against him when he attempted to travel internationally.
Once Mr. Imery realized that an INTERPOL Red Notice had been issued against him, he immediately began his efforts to seek the removal of the Notice. Focusing on the political motivation and private business nature of the underlying charges, Mr. Imery and his U.S.-based attorney Michelle Estlund prepared a challenge to the Red Notice. They filed the challenge in April of 2013.
The Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (“CCF”) reviewed the information that Mr. Imery and Ms. Estlund provided. After the review, the CCF recommended that the information in Mr. Imery’s name be permanently deleted from INTERPOL’s files, and that recommendation was accepted.
Mr. Imery is now free to travel internationally without fear of being detained based on the Red Notice. He continues to fight the allegations of his accuser, who has also filed a civil claim against him in a Miami, Florida court. Along with his civil attorney, Brian Barakat, Mr. Imery remains optimistic that the civil matter will also be successfully resolved. Mr. Imery stated:
“I believe in the transparency of the U.S. judicial system, and I have faith that the court here will recognize that this case of political abuse should not breach international borders.”
Mr. Imery and his former partner, Ivan Carrero, were recently interviewed by Patricia Poleo, a Venezuelan journalist who was granted political asylum in the United States based on political persecution by the Venezuelan government. Ms. Poleo has expressed her concern at the fact that politically prosecuted cases from Venezuela have created the basis for civil claims in U.S. courts, and she continues to work to expose political oppression and abuse of power. Her own case is discussed here and here.