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Venezuela’s oil minister resigns over graft probe

Tareck El Aissami, pictured in September 2022, has resigned as Venezuela's oil minister due to a graft investigation
Tareck El Aissami, pictured in September 2022, has resigned as Venezuela's oil minister due to a graft investigation - Copyright AFP Souleymane AG ANARA
Tareck El Aissami, pictured in September 2022, has resigned as Venezuela's oil minister due to a graft investigation - Copyright AFP Souleymane AG ANARA

Venezuela’s oil minister Tareck El Aissami resigned on Monday after prosecutors opened a corruption investigation into officials at the state oil company PDVSA.

Anti-corruption police on Sunday arrested two people closely linked to El Aissami: top PDVSA official Antonio Perez Suarez, and Joselit Ramirez, who manages oil industry funds through cryptocurrencies.

“Given the investigations that have begun into the serious acts of corruption in PDVSA, I have taken the decision to submit my resignation as oil minister with the aim of totally supporting, accompanying and backing this process,” El Aissami wrote on Twitter.

El Aissami, who had been in the position since April 2020, added that he supported the government’s “crusade” against corruption.

Authorities have been probing high-ranking officials “who could be involved in serious acts of corruption and embezzlement”, the national police force said.

Legislator Hugbel Roa was among those detained, alongside a prominent lawyer, an anti-terrorism judge and a mayor.

It is not the first investigation into graft at the state oil company.

Former oil ministers Eulogio Del Pino and Nelson Martinez, who died while in police custody, were previously arrested as part of a corruption investigation.

AFP
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