Venezuela’s ex-oil minister charged with stealing millions from state oil company

Last Updated: June 21, 2024By

Fall from Grace: Venezuela’s Oil Minister Arrested for Corruption


Venezuela’s ex-oil honcho Tareck El Aissami, once tight with Nicolás Maduro, got nabbed. Why? He’s suspected of dipping his fingers into an international pot, swiping hundreds of millions from the country’s oil piggy bank.

It’s not just him. Over 50 big shots, including top dogs in politics and business, got dragged into this mess. Simon Zerpa, the ex-money maestro, and Samark López, a big shot businessman, also got the handcuff treatment. Tarek Saab, the legal big wig, spilled the beans at a presser on Tuesday.

The attorney general spilled it all, claiming El Aissami and his crew cooked up a sneaky plan. They were moving oil around on the down-low, pocketing the cash without a care for the country’s bank rules. It’s like they were trying to wreck Venezuela’s wallet.


This is quite the fall for El Aissami. He used to be Maduro’s right-hand man, pulling strings with pals in the Middle East. But now? He’s on the wrong side of the law.

Pics dropped by Venezuela’s PR team show him in cuffs, flanked by cops in ski masks. That’s a far cry from his glory days.

Once a golden boy under Hugo Chávez, El Aissami bailed as oil boss when the heat turned up on corruption. And guess what? The US has slapped a fat $10 million bounty on his head for drug deals.

Human rights folks are ringing alarm bells. They say Maduro’s sweeping up anyone who might give him a run for his money in the upcoming election. But here’s the kicker: Maduro’s not playing fair. He’s blocking anyone who could challenge his reign.

The US tried to play nice last year, easing up on oil sanctions to push for legit elections. But Maduro? He’s playing hardball, shutting out his rivals and clinging onto power like it’s going out of style.

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