Venezuela's ex-oil minister El Aissami reappears — in handcuffs

Venezuela's ex-oil minister El Aissami reappears — in handcuffs
Venezuela's ex-oil minister El Aissami reappears — in handcuffs

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Venezuela's ex-oil minister El Aissami reappears — in handcuffs in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - CARACAS — More than a year after he resigned from his post as Venezuela's oil minister, Tareck El Aissami has been arrested accused of corruption.

El Aissami is accused of stealing from Venezuela's state oil company.

Once a powerful ally of President Nicolás Maduro, El Aissami has not been seen in public since his resignation in March 2023.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Tarek Saab shared photos showing the ex-minister being led away in handcuffs.

A former economy minister Simón Zerpa and a businessman who had close ties to the Maduro government Samark López have also been detained.

Saab, who is an ally of President Maduro, announced the arrests in a news conference on Tuesday, but did not say when they had been carried out.

There had been much speculation about El Aissami's whereabouts after the influential politician, who served as vice-president and minister of industry before becoming oil minister, completely disappeared from public view last year.

The attorney general said that the investigation into the corruption scheme El Aissami is accused of having led had taken time, but critics of the government noted his arrest comes just months before the presidential election in which President Maduro will run for a third consecutive term.

Saab said El Aissami had siphoned off money from state-oil company PdVSA.

During his time as oil minister El Aissami had used some of the money to renovate his houses and sent some of it abroad, the attorney general alleged.

According to Saab, El Aissami had conspired with PdVSA executives and officials at the Venezuelan government agency overseeing crypto-currency to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.

He is accused of treason and misappropriation. El Aissami has not spoken publicly about these latest allegations.

Last year, when he stepped down from the oil ministry as dozens of PdVSA executives were arrested for alleged corruption, he said that he was resigning so that a full investigation could take place.

El Aissami and the two other senior politicians arrested on Tuesday were already under sanctions issued by the United States.

In 2017, the US treasury department accused El Aissami of playing a major role in drug trafficking and Samark López of being his frontman.

Simón Zerpa was placed on a US sanctions list in the same year for his alleged role in corruption. — BBC

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