Professor Bruce Bagley charged with money laundering, appears in court

After being charged with money laundering, Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami international relations professor, appeared in a federal courtroom Thursday, Nov. 21.

Bagley, 73, was seen in front of Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Becerra, where he agreed to be transferred to New York federal court. His arraignment is pending.

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Bruce Bagley, a UM professor, was recently charged with laundering $2.5 million of Venezuelan money. Photo source: University of Miami

While Bagley declined to comment after his court appearance, his lawyer, Daniel Forman, said, “I don’t want him to make any statements. We’re confident at the end of the day he’s going to be exonerated.”

Bagley was seen on campus by students Wednesday, Nov. 20. He also declined to comment on his pending charges.

According to the U.S. State Attorney’s Office, Bagley allegedly laundered about $2.5 million dollars from Venezuela into his personal bank account and kept 10 percent for himself.

“[Bagley] allegedly opened bank accounts for the express purpose of laundering money for corrupt foreign nationals,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. “Moreover, the funds Bagley was allegedly laundering were the proceeds of bribery and corruption, stolen from the citizens of Venezuela.”

Bagley is officially charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering. They each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The university was made aware of the indictments against Bagley on Monday, November 18, the day he was arrested by South Florida FBI agents.

“In light of this development, professor Bagley is on administrative leave. As this is a personal matter in an ongoing investigation, the university has no further comment at this time,” the university said in a statement.

Liam Graf, a junior majoring in international relations and economics, took Bagley’s Latin American Foreign Policy class in the spring.

He said the professor’s class was interesting and insightful but “nothing that would make it seem like he did insider trading when it came to organized crime or money laundering.”

“We talked heavily about narco-trafficking,” Graf said. “And he does actually seem to indicate that he was on the side of the angels, at least when it came to that.”