February 20, 2024

Maduro’s alleged ‘Orange’ partner arrested in Venezuela

A judicial source told AFP on Wednesday (12) that Venezuelan authorities have arrested Colombian businessman Alvaro Pulido, who is on the run from US justices and an ally of Alex Chapp, another accused “Orange” of President Nicol├ís Maduro.

“Yes, he has been detained,” the source said today, “to be interrogated,” without giving further details of the arrest.

The detention coincides with an anti-corruption purge ordered by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that has detained more than 55 people since March 17, including top officials from state oil company PDVSA and the judiciary.

Pulido was one of Maduro’s “Orange”-designated Colombian associates and was arrested in June 2020, during a plane stop in the African archipelago of Cape Verde, and extradited to the United States in October of the same year. .

In July 2019, the two were charged in the US with money laundering in a millionaire kickback scheme.

On October 22, 2021, the US State Department offered a $10 million reward (almost R$50 million at current exchange rates) for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Pulido, who identifies himself as German Enrique. Rubio Salas. “To the corrupt Maduro regime”.

The State Department alleges that beginning in 2015, Saab and its collaborators took advantage of overpriced contracts tied to Local Groups for Supply and Production (CLAP), a food aid program aimed at vulnerable Venezuelans.

The two are accused of bribing Venezuelan government officials who helped them secure contracts to sell food at inflated prices.

In June 2020, in light of foreign exchange shortages in early 2018, the United States indicated that Maduro had granted Saab a monopoly on the sale of illegally mined gold from Arco Minero del Orinoco, a large mining area in southern Venezuela.

The U.S. Treasury Department accuses Tareck El Aissami, the former oil minister and former vice president of Venezuela who resigned on March 20 as a victim of a new anti-corruption “crusade,” of working with Saab to set up the scheme.

As of Monday, April 10, 67 arrest warrants had been issued in Venezuela, 12 of which had not yet been executed, according to the country’s Attorney General, Tarek William Sapp.

(AFP)

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