By Juan Forero
Washington Post Foreign Service | Friday, October 24, 2008; Page A13
The Miami trial of a Venezuelan entrepreneur who grew rich doing business with President Hugo Chávez's populist administration has exposed how some top government officials have profited from a corrosive web of corruption in the oil-rich country.
Kickbacks, bribes and secret payoffs have become a feature in the socialist administration, which had claimed a break from the past but instead has seen several officials implicated in multimillion-dollar corruption schemes, according to testimony and conversations taped by the FBI. The trial has also revealed the Chávez government's determination to funnel state funds to its allies in Latin America and the lengths it will go to to keep the aid secret.
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