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Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and his wife were taken into custody on Friday due to charges of conspiracy and bribery charges. From 2014 to 2021, they were reportedly accepted approximately $6000,000 bribe from an Azerbaijan-controlled energy company and also from a bank in Mexico. In return of this Cuellar helped them by advancing the interests of the company and the bank in the U.S.

Cuellar also agreed to influence legislation which was favorable to Azerbaijan and to deliver a pro-Azerbaijan speech on the floor of the U.S. House according to the indictment. They were taken into custody on Friday by the Department of Justice, after which they made an initial appearance in front of a federal judge in Houston and were then released on $100,000 bond according to the department.

Cuellar opposed these allegations by saying, “Everything I have done in Congress has been to serve the people of South Texas.” Cuellar also said that ,”Before I took action, I proactively sought legal advice from the House Ethics Committee, who gave me more than one written opinion, along with an additional opinion from a national law firm. “Furthermore, we requested a meeting with the Washington D.C. prosecutors to explain the facts and they refused to discuss the case with us or hear our side.”

Other than the above mentioned charges, the couple was also charged with allegations such as fraud conspiracy, acting as agents of foreign principals and money laundering. If they got convicted in these charges, they have to face up to decades in prison and forfeiture of any property linked to proceedings of this case.  “In fact, Imelda Cuellar had performed little or no legitimate work under the contract,” the indictment says.

Cuellar was the co-chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus in the previous time.

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