Former Venezuelan oil czar arrested in corruption probe

  • Tareck El Aissami, the once-powerful minister in command of Venezuela’s wealthy oil reserves, has been arrested.
  • El Aissami, who resigned final 12 months, is about to look in courtroom for the primary time on Tuesday on fees together with cash laundering, legal affiliation and treason.
  • El Aissami’s resignation got here simply days earlier than the arrests of a number of different senior officers within the socialist authorities of President Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuela’s once powerful oil minister, who resigned unexpectedly final 12 months as prosecutors probed corruption and different wrongdoing on the highest ranges of the state-run crude trade, has been arrested in reference to an alleged scheme that siphoned a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from state coffers, the federal government introduced Tuesday.

The Ministry of Communications launched photographs of Tareck El Aissami being handcuffed and strolling down a hallway flanked by officers. Lawyer Basic Tarek William Saab instructed reporters that El Aissami will make his first courtroom look Tuesday on fees that embrace treason, cash laundering and legal affiliation.

Saab didn’t say when El Aissami was arrested.


The oil minister resigned just a few days earlier than senior officers within the authorities of President Nicolás Maduro and enterprise leaders had been arrested in March 2023 as a part of an investigation into the corruption scheme that was based mostly on worldwide oil gross sales. El Aissami disappeared from public life after the arrests and his whereabouts had been steadily questioned.

Tareck El Aissami

FILE – Venezuelan Petroleum Minister Tareck El Aissami arrives on the 4F army museum the place late President Hugo Chavez is buried, in the course of the actions marking the tenth anniversary of Chavez’s demise, in Caracas, Venezuela, March 15, 2023. Venezuela’s authorities introduced on April 9, 2024, the arrest of El Aissami on alleged corruption allegations, about one 12 months after his resignation. (AP Picture/Matias Delacroix, File)

Saab stated El Aissami’s arrest took time due to the assorted steps within the investigation. The highest prosecutor tied the previous minister to the alleged scheme that concerned promoting Venezuelan oil by way of the nation’s cryptocurrency oversight company in parallel to the state-run Petróleos de Venezuela SA.

Saab final 12 months stated the oversight company allegedly signed contracts for the loading of crude on ships “without any type of administrative control or guarantees,” violating authorized laws. He stated that after the oil was marketed, “the corresponding payments were not made” to the state oil firm.

In saying his resignation — seen as stunning from somebody portrayed as a loyal ruling social gathering member and regarded a key determine within the authorities’s efforts to evade punishing worldwide economic sanctions — El Aissami stated he needed to “fully support” the investigations.

The US designated El Aissami a narcotics kingpin in 2017 in reference to actions in his earlier positions as inside minister and governor.


Corruption has lengthy been rampant in Venezuela, which sits atop the world’s largest petroleum reserves. However officers are not often held accountable — a serious irritant to residents.