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Photo: Alastair Pike / AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is offering a $10 million reward for any information that could lead to the arrest of a Colombian national who officials say allegedly took part in a Venezuela bribery scheme.

Driving the news: The high-value reward comes after Colombian national Alvaro Pulido Vargas and four others were charged with allegedly bribing Venezuelan government officials to obtain contracts to import and distribute food and medicine through a state-run program, according to the Department of Justice.

The big picture: In 2015, Pulido and others "began working to obtain or retain contracts to provide food" to Venezuelans while allegedly marking up the production costs for personal profit, according to the State Department.

  • As a result, "the conspirators were able to pay bribes and kickbacks to those Venezuelan government officials who assisted them in obtaining the contract to produce the boxes, and make millions of dollars in profit for themselves," State said.
  • "As a result of the scheme, Pulido, Vielma-Mora, Rubio, Lizcano, Guillermo, and their co-conspirators allegedly received approximately $1.6 billion from the Republic of Venezuela, and transferred approximately $180 million through or to the United States," according to a Justice Department press release announcing the charges.
  • Pulido works with Colombian businessman Alex Saab, an ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reports. Saab was extradited to the U.S. last week on money laundering charges.

Go deeper

State Department offers $10 million for information on cybercriminal group DarkSide

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The State Department is offering up to $10 million for information regarding the identification or location of senior members of DarkSide, a global cybercrime organization.

Why it matters: DarkSide is responsible for a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline in May and led to fuel shortages in multiple states.

Axios Visuals Deep Dive: Pandemic eating

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A food revolution began pre-pandemic and COVID has only accelerated that. See how America's food industry is transforming, from farm to your table.

Abrams’ campaign manager rules out 2024 run if she wins governor's race

Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

In her first major interview since the official announcement, Stacey Abrams' campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo quashed speculation that the Georgia Democrat would interrupt a theoretical gubernatorial term to run for president in 2024.

Why it matters: Abrams' name has come up repeatedly as a top 2024 Democratic contender given President Joe Biden's age and Vice President Kamala Harris's low favorability rating.

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