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Former Venezuelan Oil Minister Arrested in Alleged Corruption Scheme

Fraud, Bribery & CorruptionFormer Venezuelan Oil Minister Arrested in Alleged Corruption Scheme

Former Venezuelan oil minister Tareck El Aissami, once a close ally of Nicolás Maduro, has been arrested for his alleged involvement in an international scheme that diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from the country’s state oil company. His arrest is part of a broader government crackdown that has ensnared over 50 individuals, including key political and business figures like former finance minister Simon Zerpa and businessman Samark López.

According to Attorney General Tarek Saab, El Aissami and his associates illicitly managed oil shipments without routing payments through the central bank, profiting from what Saab describes as an “economic conspiracy” aimed at damaging Venezuela’s economy.

El Aissami’s downfall marks a stark reversal for the politician, once a close confidante of Maduro who leveraged his connections in the Middle East. He had been out of the public eye since March 2023, when corruption investigations into Venezuela’s state oil firm intensified. The US has offered a $10 million reward for El Aissami for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking.

Human rights groups caution that Maduro’s government is targeting politicians, rights activists, and critics in a bid to secure his reelection in anticipated July polls. Despite the US lifting oil sanctions to encourage fair elections, Maduro has sidelined popular opposition candidates and shown little interest in a fair electoral process.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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