Former attorney general Luisa Ortega Diaz unveiled a series of shocking corruption allegations against high ranking PSUV officials, including Maduro himself, at a Mercosur in Brazil today. Ortega Diaz, who arrived at the meeting from Colombia after fleeing Venezuela last week, provided details on the Public Ministry’s files on regime officials for the first time.

Speaking to a room of reporters, Ortega Diaz read information from official documents regarding corruption investigations against Maduro himself, as well as current attorney general Tarek William Saab and PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello.

Since many of the allegations she made are related to ongoing investigations in Brazil regarding the Odebrecht case, Ortega Diaz said that she would have to be careful with what information she revealed. Ortega Diaz explained:

I won’t reveal too much of what the Brazilian attorney general might have in this case because it’s not up to me to release that information. But I have the evidence that we have collected in Venezuela in this case and I will hand it over to certain countries so that they can go ahead and try these individuals [like] Nicolas Maduro, Diosdado Cabello, Jorge Rodriguez, and all others who are involved.

Ortega Diaz stressed that she was willing to hand over “all materials” under her possession to any interested authorities in order that the investigations may continue.

Appointed by Hugo Chavez to the position of attorney general in 2007, Ortega Diaz was removed from her post by the Constituent Assembly on August 5 and replaced with Tarek William Saab.

Having been attorney general for nearly a decade, Ortega Diaz is in the unique position to speak about crimes committed by members of the Maduro regime.

Maduro Profiting Directly from Food Crisis

Ortega Diaz accused Maduro of siphoning money from Venezuelan coffers through a company in Mexico called Group Grand Limited, which she claims belongs to the president but is owned by figureheads.

Below, a video of Ortega Diaz’s allegation along with my translation:

Ortega Diaz: … we are investigating the bags of food that are distributed in Venezuela: the CLAP [boxes/bags]. There is a company registered in Mexico under the names of two people. The company is called [unintelligible — it sounds like she’s saying “Gross Grand Limited”, but NoticieroDigital is reporting the name as Group Grand Limited].

This company is presumed to belong to the President of the Republic, Nicolas Maduro, and its owners are Rodolfo Reyes,  Alvaro Pulido Vargas, and Alex Saab. We have evidence of this.

I am going to hand over this evidence to the authorities of different countries, like the United States, Colombia and Spain, so that this can be investigated under the principle of universal jurisdiction and because there is no justice in Venezuela, and it is impossible for corruption and drug trafficking to be investigated in Venezuela. As a result, the international community must investigate these cases.

The allegation suggests that Maduro is profiting directly from the ongoing food shortages in Venezuela, since Group Grand Ltd. sells boxes of subsidized food to the Venezuelan government for distribution through the CLAP system, which was introduced as a way to address the food crisis in the country.

Two of the individuals that Ortega Diaz named as the legal owners of the company–Alvaro Pulido Vargas and Alex Saab–were at the centre of another corruption scandal, this time in Ecuador, back in 2015.

Back in April, Maduro approved the purchase of $340 million worth of CLAP boxes from Group Grand Ltd. The money came from FONDEN, a slush fund created by the Venezuelan government in 2005. The legal nature of FONDEN makes it impossible to trace the money.

Diosdado Cabello Received $100 Million in Dirty Money

Ortega Diaz also accused PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello of receiving $100 million in dirty money from the Odebrecht corruption case into a company registered in Spain under his cousins’ names.

According to the allegation, the money was transferred at an unspecified time to a company called TSA Arietis, which is owned by Luis Alfredo Campos Cabello and Jesus Campos Cabello.

Below, a video of the allegation along with my translation:

Ortega Diaz: In the Odebrecht case, we have detected that Diosdado Cabello received a deposit of $100 million dollars through a Spanish company called TSE Arietis, which is owned by his cousins, Luis Alfredo Campos Cabello and Jesus Campos Cabello.

To date, Odebrecht is suspected of having paid $788 million in bribes to officials in twelve countries, including Venezuela. If Ortega Diaz’s allegations are true, Cabello would likely be one of the largest single beneficiaries of the corruption scandal.

Tarek William Saab Target of Six Different Corruption Investigations

Ortega Diaz also revealed that People’s Defender and current attorney general Tarek William Saab was the target of six different corruption investigations at the time that she was removed from her position earlier this month.

On the possibility that Saab may have destroyed evidence at the Public Ministry since taking over her job, Ortega Diaz said:

They maybe have destroyed teh files, but the verified copies are in my possession.

Venezuelan Exiles Meet VP Pence, Senators in Miami

A group of Venezuelan exiles met today with representatives from the United States government, including vice president Mike Pence and senator Marco Rubio, to discuss the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

On the Venezuelan side, the meeting was attended by a wide range of victims of Maduro’s political persecution, including two magistrates, two mayors, four students, as well as well as high-profile figures including Carlos Vecchio and Ramon Muchacho.

The meeting took place under the auspices of VEPPEX, a civil society group made up of victims of Venezuelan political persecution, who presented a letter to vice president Pence requesting that the United States government continue to single out regime officials for individual economic and travel sanctions.

The image below shows vice president Pence getting ready to sit to start the meeting:

In a speech he gave during an event prior to the start of the meeting, Pence promised Venezuelans that the United States would continue to work towards the goal of reestablishing democracy in the country, saying:

You can have confidence that under President Donald Trump, we hear you and we stand with you. And as the president said, we will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.

The vice president also revealed that the United States’ participation in the international effort on Venezuela would remain “peaceful”, and that it would involve more targeted sanctions against regime officials:

Under instructions from president Trump, the United States government has already placed sanctions against the Maduro regime, and there will be more. we have many options on the Venezuelan case, and we will achieve a peaceful solution for its people.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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3 thoughts on “08.23.17: Guns Blazing

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