Congressman Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas, Charged with Bribery and Violations of Foreign Agents Registration Act

Earlier this month, an indictment was unsealed in the Southern District of Texas charging Congressman Henry Cuellar and his wife, Imelda, with participating in schemes involving bribery, unlawful foreign influence, and money laundering. The Congressman and his wife made their initial court appearance before a Magistrate Judge on May 3 in Houston.

According to court documents, the Congressman and his wife are alleged to have accepted roughly $600,000 in bribes between December 2014 and November 2021. The bribes are alleged to have been paid by an oil and gas company owned and controlled by the Government of Azerbaijan, and a bank headquartered in Mexico City, raising Foreign Agents Registration Act concerns. The payments were allegedly laundered through sham consulting contracts via a series of front companies and middlemen through shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar. Ms. Cuellar performed little to no legitimate work under the contracts through which the payments were made.

In exchange for the payments, the Congressman is alleged to have agreed to use his office to influence U.S. foreign policy in favor of Azerbaijan and influence legislative activity and advise and pressure high-ranking U.S. Executive Branch officials regarding measures beneficial to the Mexico City Bank.

The Congressman and his wife are each charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery of a federal official and to have a public official act as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), two counts of bribery of a federal official, two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, two counts of violating the ban on public officials acting as agents of a foreign principal required to register under FARA, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and five counts of money laundering. The maximum penalties for each of these offenses range from two to 20 years imprisonment.

The FBI and Department of State’s Office of the Inspector General investigated the case, and it is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

For more information regarding FARA, please contact us using our online form.

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