Venezuela will investigate alleged embezzlement from the state tied to irregular contracts in the Orinoco Oil Belt estimated at $200 million, Attorney General Tarek William Saab has announced.
During a press conference, Saab said 12 contracts from the state oil company, PDVSA, where the contracting of services and supplies carried a 230 percent surcharge, will face an audit as the attorney general's office tries to get to the bottom of what he called an organized crime syndicate.
Saab accused his predecessor, Luisa Ortega Diaz, of acting with "permissive omission" and "complicity" in corruption cases that were not investigated during her tenure, saying that the evidence was available and that President Nicolas Maduro had asked for probes into the contracts, to no avail.
"We are indignant at the fact that these crimes were never investigated and were perpetrated with the aim of damaging the country," he said.
The attorney general added that PDVSA has been cooperating with requests for information on agreements signed with various companies, including their process and completion.
Saab also said that opposition figure Lilian Tintori is being investigated after authorities found over US$60,000 in cash in her car. "We are looking into which bank she allegedly withdrew the money from since Venezuelans are only allowed to withdraw a limited amount of cash at a time," adding, "Which bank gives you cash in four crates?"