On Wednesday, July 14, the attorney general of the Court of Appeals of Rome approved the extradition of former president of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), Rafael Ramírez , who is being investigated for corruption and embezzlement of billions of dollars.
The Rome prosecutor, Luigi Giuliano, informed through a statement the approval of the request made by Venezuela to extradite Ramírez; who is under investigation for the crimes of willful embezzlement, evasion of bidding procedure and association to commit a crime, all of these committed in 2007.
In the ruling, the Court explained that the attorney general did not consider Ramírez’s defenses sufficient, and that the case was not one of political persecution as Ramírez had argued.
“There are no reasons to believe that the criminal process pending before the judicial authority of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the result of a persecutory activity executed for political reasons,” ruled the attorney general. ”There are also no reasons to specifically believe that the procedure to which the accused would be subjected in his country of origin will not respect his fundamental rights.”
The statement added that the Venezuelan State should ensure the timeline and methods for the judicial procedure and the precautionary detention.
This is the rule by Rome's Appeal Court green lighting Rafael Ramirez extradition. Ramirez, former PDVSA's CEO is accused by Venezuelan justice of corruption since 2017 pic.twitter.com/E0MTjIRQEQ
— Orinoco Tribune (@OrinocoTribune) July 14, 2021
Rafael Ramírez, who is in Italy, is requested for extradition by the Venezuelan justice and has a red alert at Interpol for being allegedly linked to these crimes:
• Willful embezzlement: Provision of Art. 54 of the anti-corruption legislation.
• Evasion of bidding procedure: Provision of Art. 60 of the anti-corruption legislation
• Association to commit a crime: Provision of Art. 36 of the Organic Law against Organized Crime and Financing of Terrorism
In July 2020, Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) submitted a requested to Italy for the extradition of Ramírez.
Then in February this year, Venezuela’s Attorney General Tareck William Saab reported that an investigation was opened to establish responsibilities regarding the payment of bribes to former Venezuelan officials; a case that involves Ramírez and his cousin Diego Salazar Carreño.
This case involves the Spanish company Ingelec, manufacturer of power generators, based in Seville (Spain), that had allegedly paid $3.26 million in commissions to a criminal system led by Ramírez.
Featured image: Former PDVSA CEO and fugitive from justice Rafael Ramírez. File photo.
(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigón
Translation: Orinoco Tribune