Venezuela trades 10 Americans and wanted fugitive 'Fat Leonard' for Maduro ally

The sizable prisoner swap returned to US custody the central figure in one of the US military's biggest bribery scandals

American detained in Venezuela arrives home after prisoner swap
American detained in Venezuela arrives home after prisoner swap
(Image credit: Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP via Getty Images)

Venezuela on Wednesday gave the U.S. 10 American detainees and Leonard Glenn Francis, a fugitive Malaysian port services contractor widely known as "Fat Leonard," in exchange for a close aide to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The prisoner exchange was "one of the biggest and multifaceted hostage deals the U.S. has carried out with a hostile foreign government," The Wall Street Journal reported, as well as "a breakthrough in the Biden administration's rapprochement efforts with Caracas."

Under the terms of the deal, the White House said, Venezuela also agreed to release 20 political prisoners and opposition figure Roberto Abdul, and suspend arrest warrants of three other Venezuelans.

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