This Monday, September 12, Venezuelan Minister of Petroleum and President of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) Tareck El Aissami presented to the Attorney General’s Office new evidence of the irregular financing that Rafael Ramírez, former president of PDVSA and former minister of Petroleum, had received from private non-financial entities. The case is going on in the framework of investigations into corruption in the Venezuelan oil industry.
“We have consigned the audit of the years 2012 and 2013,” Minister El Aissami said in statements broadcast by Venezolana de Televisión (VTV). “Rafael Ramírez uses the false argument that his tenure was audited by the firm KPMG. He even says that his management passed all audit tests. Far from being a defense, it is an argument that further corroborates this crime.”
El Aissami added that the report presented indicates profits from payment of financing in bolívars from non-financial private entities during December 31, 2012 – December 31, 2013. “That is, he confesses to the crime he committed by receiving an alleged line of credit in bolívars from a private non-financial entity. This is the report that the bandit Rafael Ramírez appeals,” said the minister.
El Aissami explained that the evidence presented shows 28 transfers, amounting to $4.9 billion, made by PDVSA between March 2012 and March 2013 to two funds, one in Panama and the other in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Oberto Anselmi brothers appear in both funds, which were also distributed to other Venezuelans, among whom Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López, the cousin of opposition leader Leopoldo López, stands out.
El Aissami stressed that the oil industry’s function is the production and marketing of hydrocarbon products and their derivatives. “No activity of this nature [Ramírez’s corruption] is associated with the objective of our industry,” he stated.
The consigned report resulted from new confessions by recently arrested former vice president of Finance Department of PDVSA, Víctor Aular, who has been charged for his involvement in the corruption scheme called Operation Atlantic.
“He [Aular] confessed to part of this information, of this case and other cases as well, where favoring transnational companies for PDVSA contracts and licenses is evident,” Aissami stated.
In this regard, he specified that he was advised to include Baldo Sansó Rondón in the investigation. Baldo Sansó is the brother-in-law of Rafael Ramírez and financial operator, together with Nervis Villalobos, former deputy minister of Electric Power, of the corruption plots, influence peddling and favoring of transnational corporations to the detriment of the interests of the nation. “Field concessions and contracts were delivered without compliance with the Constitution and the Hydrocarbons Law, only as favors that were arranged outside the legal norms and that were paid in commissions in bank accounts abroad,” El Aissami added.
In the case of Villalobos, El Aissami confirmed that the Venezuelan judiciary has information about accounts in a foreign bank where the payment of commissions for the granting of this type of license was issued, where Baldo Sansó is a co-participant. He added that the accusation report has been requested from the Attorney General’s Office to collect the associated information, as there are 25 cases of PDVSA corruption plots, nine of which were directed and executed by Rafael Ramírez.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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