A total of 51 people have been detained for being involved in different acts of corruption across Venezuela, reported Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab. At a press conference, Saab explained that the detainees include, but are not limited to, those related to the PDVSA-Crypto cases, the Corporación Venezolana de Guayana (CVG) case, as well as detained judges and regional/parliamentary officials.
“To date, there are 51 people who have been detained for various corruption schemes, including that of PDVSA-Crypto, CVG, and detained judges,” the Attorney General announced this Wednesday, March 5. “When we add it all up, that’s 51 people who have placed themselves outside the law.” He also noted that the Public Ministry has investigated 31 corruption schemes within PDVSA so far during his tenure.
As of now, in these 31 corruption cases, a total of 228 people have been implicated, comprised of 127 people under investigation, ten under preliminary investigations, 16 on trial, and 75 convicted.
The Attorney General stated that 34 people are being newly prosecuted in regard to the PDVSA-Crypto plot. In total, he explained, 262 people have been prosecuted for corruption crimes within the national oil industry alone.
Among the detainees are: Joselit Ramírez Camacho, Antonio Pérez Suárez, José Agustín Ramos, Yamil Martínez, Odoardo José Bordones, Heinrich Chapellín, Jesús Enrique Salazar, Rajiv Alberto Mosqueda, Renny Gerardo Barrientos, Hugbel Roa, Manuel Meneses, Rogers Ramírez Dorante, Rafael Perdomo, Roger Perdomo, Daniel Prieto, Kristhonfer Barrios and Johanna Torres, Alejandro Arroyo, Bernardo Arosio, Fernando Bermúdez, Leonardo Torres, Jackeline Perico, José Lima, Jesús Ramírez, José Luís Silva, Gustavo Carmona, Juan Moreno, Pedro Fernández, Oscar Rojas, Jean Golman Meyer, Cardozo González, Luis Guzmán, and Miguel Irigoyen.
President Maduro: Half of PDVSA-Crypto Corruption Detainees Confessing, New Detainees in CVG & PDVSA
New revelations in Rafael Ramírez corruption plot
During the press conference, Saab also referred to the information revealed by different national and international news outlets in recent days about the corruption plot reported in PDVSA; specifically, those involving the fugitive Rafael Ramírez.
Saab noted that Venezuela is investigating approximately ten cases of corruption and money laundering involving Ramírez while he was president of PDVSA. He further referred to the case of Rafael Reiter, the former PDVSA security chief who agreed to collaborate with the US justice system, as disclosed in unsealed US Department of Justice documents.
Saab stated that those involved “must all be handed over without exception to Venezuelan justice; it is not understood how these subjects, outside the law, have the gall, have the self-confidence, to declare themselves politically persecuted by the Venezuelan authorities while in [the US].”
He also stated that the recently disclosed documents only prove that the Venezuelan investigations are correct. “What was disclosed yesterday confirms that the Public Ministry was right from the beginning,” he said, “in that this is not something they can blame on political persecutions. Since when is corruption and embezzlement a political crime?”
Tarek William Saab: Ha sido reiterado el llamado, incluso me atrevo a decir que han sido reiterados las solicitudes de extradición que hemos hecho concretamente a los gobiernos de Italia y España para que nos entreguen a estos delincuentes que viven un exilio dorado
— Ministerio Público venezolano (@MinpublicoVEN) April 5, 2023
Requests for extradition of those involved in corruption ratified
“We re-ratify the demand to the US, Spain, and Italy,” he said, “that they hand over the people and that they be tried in Venezuela for the crimes they committed here. The call has been reiterated, the extradition requests made specifically to the governments of Italy and Spain have been reiterated, so that they will hand over to us those criminals who live in golden exile.”
Saab noted that it has now become public knowledge that Rafael Reiter, who was head of Security and Loss Prevention at PDVSA during Ramírez’s administration, is going to testify about Ramírez’s involvement in collecting bribes from industry suppliers.
The investigations carried out by the US also name Diego Salazar, who was imprisoned in Venezuela eight years ago. Salazar, along with Ramírez and Nervis Villalobos, the former Vice Minister of Electric Power under Chávez, participated in a money laundering criminal organization that, “between October 2011 and November 2012 alone, laundered €1,347,339,972.”
#Ahora @TarekWiliamSaab: Estas son las solicitudes de extradición de cada unos de estos sujetos #5Abr #PuebloEnOracionYPaz pic.twitter.com/FpcGbtmvHf
— Alfred Nazareth (@luchaalmada) April 5, 2023
Operation “Whoever falls, falls”
From Friday March 17, the National Anti-Corruption Police (PNCC) began the operation “Caiga quien caiga” (Whoever falls, falls) as part of the framework instated by the Venezuelan government to deal with the scourge of corruption in public and private institutions and companies.
So far, the various phases of the operation have revealed the criminal networks associated with the PDVSA-Crypto, CVG, and Cartones de Venezuela cases. Regarding the Cartones de Venezuela case, the Attorney General explained that the only person they have in custody so far has links with CVG; namely, with the former CVG president, Pedro Maldonado, who is also in custody.
In this case, Maldonado received orders from Hugo César Cabezas, former minister and governor of Trujillo state, who was captured by the PNCC in the early hours of this Wednesday for acts of corruption, along with 13 other people.
Hugo Cabezas was taken to the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) to be charged for his alleged involvement in corruption schemes in the state-owned companies CVG and Cartones de Venezuela.
Hugo Cabezas also held the position of Minister for the Office of the Presidency in 2007, under Hugo Chávez, and once again in 2014, under Nicolás Maduro. Between 2008 and 2012, he was governor of Trujillo; in addition, he served as director of the Alfredo Maneiro Editorial Complex and representative of the Ministry of Industry and National Production.
The Attorney General noted that the potential for new arrests regarding acts of corruption still remains. “Other arrests could come,” said Saab, “because in the investigation phase, [the detainees’] confessions have led us to other plots, and within that process of interviews, of presentations, new elements continue to emerge.”
President Nicolás Maduro has reiterated and demonstrated his commitment to impart justice against those who decided to rob the people. “We are going to stop the corrupt, no matter what,” the Venezuelan president stated. “I call on the people to attend to this great battle that we are waging for values, against corruption, mafias, and indolence.”
(Últimas Noticias) by Ariadna Eljuri
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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