August 24, 2017
Venezuela’s recently ousted chief prosecutor accused President Nicolas Maduro and several allies on Wednesday of participating in acts of corruption, saying she would turn over proof that would help other countries prosecute. Venezuela’s government quickly fired back, accusing Luisa Ortega Diaz of “grave moral and ethical infractions.”
Ortega spoke during a meeting of Mercosur trade bloc prosecutors in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia. Ortega was removed by a new, pro-government constitutional assembly in early August after breaking with Venezuela’s socialist government. She fled abroad with her husband, whose arrest was ordered by the country’s supreme court.
“I want to denounce, in front of the world, a grave situation in Venezuela: that of excessive corruption,” Ortega said. “Because of that reason, (Maduro’s administration) is violating the constitution and law to protect itself.” Ortega said she had evidence implicating Maduro and other top officials in corruption involving Brazilian constructor Odebrecht and other companies.
Ortega told reporters after the meeting that Maduro loyalist Diosdado Cabello received $100 million from Odebrecht via a Spanish company called TSE Arietis, which was owned by cousins of Cabello. She also claimed that Maduro was the owner of a Mexican company that Venezuela had contracted to provide basic foodstuffs. She said Group Grand Limited was registered in Mexico under the names Rodolfo Reyes, Alvaro Pulido Vargas and Alex Saab, but that Maduro was the real owner.
“It’s impossible for cases to be investigated in Venezuela,” said Ortega, adding that she was providing documentation to the United States, Brazil, Colombia and Spain. Ortega’s claims could not be immediately verified. Emails sent to Group Grand Limited and TSE Arietis seeking comment were not returned.
Venezuela’s ousted prosecutor accuses Nicolas Maduro of corruption