Crypto Corruption Scandal Rocks Venezuela: Dozens Implicated
On March 24th, Venezuelan prosecutors arrested 21 individuals accused of participating in a corruption scheme related to state oil company Petroles de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).
According to reports by Reuters, eleven of the arrested individuals were businessmen, and the remaining ten were government officials. The Venezuelan government has also issued arrest warrants for 11 additional individuals in the same scheme.
The investigation leading to the arrests began in October 2022 and focused on PDVSA, the judiciary, and the country’s crypto watchdog, Sunacrip.
The corruption scheme, involving officials, businessmen, and even young individuals, was deemed by Attorney General Tarek Saab as one of the most significant corruption and money laundering cases in recent years.
The exact details of the scheme were not disclosed, but Saab did reveal that Sunacrip was involved in assigning oil cargoes for sale without proper administrative control, which enabled receivers to purchase cargoes without making registered payments.
Recently, there have been reports from local news sources that two oil brokers are being charged for engaging in illegal oil deals with PDVSA by using Tether (USDT) to avoid sanctions and payment settlements.
Over the years, PDVSA officials have been repeatedly implicated in corrupt practices, as Saab’s office has investigated more than 30 cases linked to oil corruption, leading to almost 200 individuals being prosecuted.
The recent spate of arrests and removals of several government officials and businessmen highlights the deep-seated corruption within the industry.