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Rep. Henry Cuellar and Spouse Accused of Taking Nearly $600,000 in Bribes, Indictment Reveals

Henry Cuellar (Credits: NBC News)

The indictment of Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar and his wife, Imelda Cuellar, on charges of accepting nearly $600,000 in bribes from two foreign entities has sent shockwaves through Texas politics and Capitol Hill. According to the indictment filed in federal court in Texas, the alleged scheme exposed over several years, from late 2014 through at least November 2021.

During their initial court appearance in Houston, the Cuellars were released on a $100,000 bond. They are facing a litany of charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery of a federal official, violating the ban on public officials acting as agents of a foreign principal, and money laundering.

Henry Cuellar

Henry Cuellar (Credits: CNN)

Despite the serious allegations, Cuellar maintains his innocence, asserting that everything he has done in Congress has been to serve the people of South Texas. He also defended his wife, emphasizing her qualifications and hard work.

Prosecutors allege that the Cuellars engaged in two separate schemes to accept bribes from foreign entities—a government-owned oil and gas company in Azerbaijan and a bank based in Mexico City.

In exchange for these payments, Cuellar purportedly agreed to perform official acts as a member of Congress and act as an agent of the foreign entities, advocating for their interests in US policy and financial regulations.

The indictment outlines various promises made by Cuellar, including delivering a pro-Azerbaijani speech on the House floor, influencing legislative measures related to Azerbaijan’s conflict with Armenia, and advocating for financial regulations beneficial to the Mexican bank.

The couple allegedly received bribe payments through shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar, using the proceeds for personal expenses, including a $12,000 custom gown, as detailed in the indictment.

Henry Cuellar (Credits: Yahoo News Singapore)

Cuellar’s home and campaign office were raided by the FBI in 2022, preceding the charges. While House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries emphasized Cuellar’s presumption of innocence, he announced Cuellar’s temporary step-down from his position on a House Appropriations Subcommittee pending the investigation.

The National Republican Congressional Committee wasted no time calling for Cuellar’s resignation, urging his colleagues to prioritize accountability over political allegiances.

As the legal proceedings reveal, the allegations against Cuellar cast a shadow over his political career and underscore the importance of upholding integrity and ethics in public office.

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