Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
Last updated 2 hours, 16 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
Ramirez attacks efforts to link him to graft
December 08, 2017
 Print    Send to Friend

HOUSTON: Venezuela’s former oil czar Rafael Ramirez said on Wednesday the government would make one of its “worst political moves” if investigators target him in an anti-corruption purge, which is gaining traction ahead of the country’s 2018 presidential election.

Friction between Ramirez and President Nicolas Maduro reflect growing rifts in the Socialist Party once firmly united under late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. This comes amid a deep economic recession and financial sanctions imposed by the United States on what it considers a “dictatorship.” Ramirez, who spoke with Reuters from an undisclosed location after being pushed out last week as Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, said he is waiting for the right time to return to his country.

The 54-year-old engineer also said he has not yet decided if he will launch a run in the 2018 Venezuelan presidential election, in which Maduro is expected to seek another term.

Ramirez, who led state-run oil company PDVSA for a decade under Chavez, said he has not been approached by Venezuelan or US prosecutors investigating corruption cases linked to PDVSA and its subsidiaries. Some of those probes focus on incidents that occurred under his watch as one of Chavez’ longest serving officials.

“I have not been involved in any act of corruption. I have been very careful to follow internal control mechanisms,” he said.

Thus far, the expanding corruption probe by the state prosecutor’s office has resulted in authorities accusing over 100 people, including two former PDVSA presidents who also served as oil ministers under Maduro.

Ramirez said he is prepared to fight back if investigators target him or his close family, some of whom served as advisors of the Venezuelan government in international arbitration cases.

“That scenario would be offbeat. Who aims to attack my family is going to find me,” he said. He added that he trusts Venezuelan institutions will confirm his family members have faithfully served Venezuela, not charging the government for their work. One of Ramirez’s relatives, Diego Salazar, was detained last week under accusations of corruption and money laundering.

Still, Ramirez said accusations from corruption scandals should not be taken lightly because they hurt PDVSA’s reputation and its ability to recover from a deep production decline. The country’s oil output has fallen this year to its lowest level in almost three decades, down 1 million barrels per day from its 2013 level.


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Post a comment
Related Stories
‘Urgent’ donations needed to deal with Venezuela’s migrant crisis: UN
Cúcuta: The UN special envoy for Venezuelan migrants called on Tuesday for international donations to help South American countries deal with an “avalanche” of migrants f..
Maduro says US wants to have him killed
CARACAS: Socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the Trump administration on Thursday of seeking to assassinate him, as relations strain between the ideolog..
US condemns Venezuela link in activist’s death
WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday condemned what it said was Venezuelan government “involvement” in the fatal fall from a window of an opposition activist who wa..
4m Venezuelans may live in Columbia by 2021
CARACAS: There could be up to 4 million Venezuelan migrants living in Colombia by 2021 if the situation in the socialist-run country worsens, Colombia’s foreign minister ..
Peru wants no military solution on Venezuela: President
NEW YORK: Peru rejects a military solution to the crisis in Venezuela but further options are under discussion to increase pressure on the Maduro government to restore d..
Advertise | Copyright