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Venezuelan bank staff arrested in state-owned oil company graft case

Venezuela’s office of the superintendent of banks said on Monday that arrest warrants have been issued for staff from Bancamiga, tying the bank to a corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company PDVSA (PDVSA.UL).

The office of the superintendent of banks did not mention the names of the individuals subject to the arrest warrants, but local media outlet Ultimas Noticias, which is linked to the country’s ruling party, said on Saturday that brothers Daniel Jose, Levin Salvatore and Carmelo De Grazia Suarez, the main shareholders of Bancamiga, had been arrested.

Former Venezuelan oil minister Tareck El Aissami was arrested earlier this month for alleged corruption at PDVSA and charged with treason and money laundering, among other crimes.

Authorities last year began investigating corruption at PDVSA, which accumulated billions of dollars in accounts receivable linked to dozens of little-known intermediaries amid U.S. sanctions.

The office of the superintendent of banks added in a statement released on social media that the attorney general’s office had issued “arrest warrants against Bancamiga officials for their participation in this serious corruption scheme,” mentioning the PDVSA case.

The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Bancamiga is the country’s sixth-largest bank and has deposits worth $290 million, according to estimates by local consultants.

The office of the superintendent of banks said “it is carrying out a process of accompaniment and monitoring of the institution to guarantee its operation.”
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Mayela Armas; Writing by Steven Grattan; Editing by Paul Simao)

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