42 officials are implicated in a corruption investigation in Venezuela.

According to the prosecutor’s office, more than 40 persons have been detained in Venezuela as part of a sweep of the PDVSA state oil corporation and other relevant government agencies.
The anti-corruption police released a statement on March 17 calling for the prosecution of officials who “may be involved in severe crimes of corruption and embezzlement.” This sparked the start of the crackdown.

Tareck El Aissami, the nation’s influential oil minister, resigned as a result of the corruption investigation so far, and other state authorities as well as PDVSA personnel have been the subject of the anti-corruption campaign.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced on Twitter that the prosecutor’s office had so far detained “42 people tied to various corruption schemes that have aimed to plunder… the national economy.”

The most recent high-profile arrest was Pedro Maldonado, president of state-owned Corporacion Venezolana Guayana, as well as officials from metals firm SIDOR.

The prosecutor revealed the charges against the officials during a briefing on March 25. These included treason, money laundering, influence peddling, and diverting public funds.

According to judicial authorities, Maldonado, a former director of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), participated in a corruption scheme that was headed by former lawmaker Hugbel Roa, according to AFP.

Roa, who was detained as part of the crackdown this month, has long been a key figure in the Venezuelan government’s Unified Socialist Party.

El Aissami, who is subject to US sanctions, is a member of the ruling party and has previously held the positions of interior and industry minister as well as vice president of Venezuela.

Although the amount of the theft has not been made public, journalistic estimates estimate it to be at least $3 billion.

AFP

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