• 23 July, 2024
News

Venezuela Cracks Down on Crypto-Oil Scandal: 21 Officials and Businessmen Arrested

Venezuela has made a major breakthrough in an anti-corruption investigation involving an alleged cryptocurrency-related oil scheme. The country’s attorney general, Tarek William Saab, has announced the arrest of 21 businessmen and officials and the release of arrest warrants for 11 others suspected to be involved in the illegal scheme. 

According to Saab, the alleged scheme involved the sale of Venezuela’s oil, facilitated by the country’s cryptocurrency watchdog Sunacrip, in connection with the state-owned oil and natural gas company Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).

The probe began last October and focused on PDVSA, the judiciary, and Sunacrip. It resulted in the arrest of 10 government officials and 11 businessmen. The attorney general did not disclose the identities of the companies involved or the exact scope of the scheme. 

He did, however, point out that Sunacrip was tasked with the sale of oil cargoes but lacked administrative control. This allowed receivers to buy cargoes without making payments or using registered ones.

Saab also accused the crypto oversight agency of signing contracts for loading crude on ships “without any type of administrative control or guarantees,” which violated regulations. 

While the amounts involved were not mentioned, Saab’s statement highlights the gravity of the situation and the lengths to which some were willing to go in their pursuit of profit.

This development comes amid Venezuela’s efforts to reorganize its national crypto departments and crack down on corruption in the country’s oil operations. Recently, energy suppliers across Venezuela shut down various crypto mining operations. 

Joselit Ramirez, who was in charge of Venezuela’s national crypto departments, was also removed from his position by President Nicolas Madura for his alleged involvement in a plan to steal from the country’s oil operations.

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