Caracas – The Minister of Oil and one of the biggest leaders of the ruling party in Venezuela, Tareck El Aissami, resigned yesterday after the disappearance of 3,000 million dollars from the state oil company PDVSA was reported this weekend and at least least four officials close to him, reported official sources and the local press.
“By virtue of the investigations that have been initiated into serious acts of corruption in PDVSA, I have made the decision to present my resignation as Minister of Petroleum, with the purpose of fully supporting, accompanying and backing this process,” El Aissami announced on Twitter. .
“In the same way, in my capacity as a revolutionary militant, I place myself at the disposal of the leadership of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela, ruling party) to support this crusade that President Nicolás Maduro has undertaken against the anti-values that we are obliged to combat, even with our lives,” he added.
El Aissami resigned after this weekend it was revealed in several local media that the Public Ministry and the National Anti-Corruption Police began an operation last Friday as a result of having detected various acts of corruption, including a fraud of PDVSA for 3,000 million Dollars.
In the context of this operation, the Vice President of Commerce and Quality Supply of PDVSA, Antonio Pérez Suárez; the national superintendent of Cryptoactives, Joselit Ramírez; the president of the Criminal Circuit of Caracas, Cristóbal Cornieles, and the pro-government deputy Hugbel Roa, according to the digital newspapers El Diario and El Pitazo.
The Public Ministry confirmed “the arrest of a group of public officials”, without identifying them, “who appear allegedly involved in serious acts of corruption”, in a statement signed by its owner, Tarek Saab.
Ramírez was arrested in connection with the disappearance of $3 billion from the sale of Venezuelan oil that did not enter PDVSA, according to the official newspaper Últimas Noticias.
Meanwhile, Roa is linked to “acts of corruption” that occurred around Petrocedeño, a mixed company in which PDVSA and companies from France and Norway participate, according to the same newspaper.
For his part, Cornieles was arrested for having ordered the release of Oswaldo Cheremos, alias El Pelón, a member of the criminal organization Tren del Llano, on January 9, according to the same newspaper.
Several media echoed this afternoon versions according to which judge José Márquez García and the mayor of Las Tejerías, Aragua, Santos Michilena, were also captured, in both cases for allegedly favoring the actions of criminal gangs.
At least Ramírez and Roa have been people trusted by El Aissami since the time when the three shared militancy in the youth branch of the PSUV at the Universidad de Los Andes (ULA), in the Andean state of Mérida, according to the Caracas newspaper Tal Cual. .
Until now, El Aissami was one of the most powerful figures in the PSUV and the Maduro government, in which he had served as sector vice president of the Economy since 2017 and Minister of Oil since 2020, after having been Minister of Industry (2018-21) and Executive Vice President of the Government (2017-18).
He is one of the most wanted and sanctioned Venezuelans since 2017 by the United States, where prosecutors and courts accuse him of drug trafficking and of having provided Venezuelan passports to members of the Hamas and Hezbollah organizations.