Venezuelan man pleads guilty in Argentina cash suitcase scheme

A Venezuelan man pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an illegal foreign agent in a scheme to cover up smuggling $800,000 in cash supposedly destined for the campaign of Argentina's president, US prosecutors said Monday. Carlos Kauffmann, 35, a wealthy Venezuelan businessman who has ties to his country's state oil company, entered his guilty plea Friday. Prosecutors said they would seek to drop another related charge after his sentencing May 12, when he faces up to five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. Prosecutors said they could recommend a sentence lower than the maximum if his cooperation helped in the case against three other men still facing charges. Prosecutors said they will also recommend that Kauffmann not be deported to Venezuela, due to "physical safety concerns." Defense attorneys for Kauffmann did not return phone calls and e-mails. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Mulvihill declined to comment on the plea or discuss possible negotiations with other defendants.