UPDATED, Aug. 6, 11 a.m.: A Syrian national criminally charged in an alleged Venezuelan bribery and money laundering scheme went on a seven-year buying-and-flipping spree involving luxury condos in Miami, Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach.
Naman Wakil made his first initial appearance in Miami federal court on Wednesday. According to the indictment, the 59-year-old Coconut Grove resident laundered money and bribed Venezuelan officials in exchange for receiving lucrative contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled companies Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. and Corporación de Abastecimiento y Servicios Agrícola.
Wakil is the latest foreign national to be ensnared by the U.S. government for roles in illegal money-making rackets involving Venezuelan state run companies. In March, a Miami federal judge reduced Swiss banker Matthias Krull’s 10-year sentence after he cooperated with authorities about his role in a sophisticated criminal operation designed to siphon money out of Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, and into assets in Europe and the United States.
Wakil’s indictment alleges he paid bribes totaling more than $12 million between 2010 and 2017 to Venezuelan officials and officials involved in joint ventures in the oil-rich Orinoco belt of Venezuela. During that time, his companies received about $250 million in food service contracts.
He allegedly laundered about $20 million in illicit proceeds using South Florida bank accounts and by buying “10 apartment units in South Florida, a $3.5 million plane and a $1.5 million yacht,” according to the indictment.
He is charged with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and three counts of engaging in transactions involving criminally derived property, according to the indictment. If convicted, Wakil faces up to 80 years in prison.
Miami-Dade property records show Wakil bought and sold eight luxury condos in downtown Miami, Brickell, Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach between 2010 and 2017. Those deals include a fifth floor unit in Mint at 92 Southwest Third Street. He paid $271,000 for the unit and sold it four years later for $310,000. In Miami Beach, Wakil purchased a 12th floor condo in Eden House at 6700 Indian Creek Drive for $398,000. He flipped it for $655,000 in 2018. Another deal involved Wakil’s purchase of a 16th floor unit at 400 Sunny Isles for $780,000 in 2015. He sold that property at a loss for $680,000 in 2017.
According to property records, Wakil currently owns a sixth floor condo in Residences at Vizcaya that he bought for $3.2 million in 2011; a 26th floor unit at Porsche Design Tower at 18555 Collins Avenue that he purchased for $5.6 million in 2016; and a 47th floor studio at 1010 Brickell that he bought for $306,000 in 2017.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified one of the units Wakil still owns, it is at Porsche Design Tower.