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US offers $5M bounty for top Venezuela judge, Maduro ally

The Trump administration offered a $5 million reward on Tuesday for information leading to the arrest of the head of Venezuela’s high court, accusing the judge of taking bribes.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Supreme Tribunal of Justice President Maikel Moreno, a close political ally of socialist President Nicolás Maduro, actively participated in transnational organized crime.

Moreno has allegedly received bribes in over 20 criminal and civil court cases, Pompeo said.

“The United States continues to stand with the people of Venezuela in their fight against corruption and for the peaceful restoration of democracy,” Pompeo said in a statement.

The Trump administration this year launched a “maximum pressure” campaign to oust Maduro as Venezuela’s economic and social crisis deepens in the once-wealthy oil nation. U.S. officials earlier this year charged Maduro as a narcoterrorist, offering $15 million for his arrest.

Moreno did not immediately comment on the U.S. reward money for his arrest. But Maduro has rejected the U.S. charges against him, saying the are politically motivated.

The White House recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate leader. U.S. federal prosecutors earlier this year charged Moreno with money laundering offenses associated with the bribery.