By JOSHUA GOODMAN
Associated Press Writer
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A former Venezuelan treasurer and nurse to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is contesting criminal charges in the U.S. Claudia Diaz is charged with money laundering, accused of taking at least $4.2 million in bribes and gifts in exchange for green lighting lucrative currency transactions. On Tuesday, Diaz’s predecessor, Alejandro Andrade, testified in a Florida court that as treasurer he was involved in bogus transactions exploiting currency controls that are a major driver of graft in Venezuela. And he cited a phone call with Diaz confirming that those dirty deals continued when she replaced him. The government’s case hinges on it convincing the jury that the alleged crimes were carried out on U.S. soil — a requirement for American courts to have jurisdiction.