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Venezuela Arrests 2 Top Former Oil Officials

  • VOA News

FILE - Venezuela's then-Oil Minister Nelson Martinez (L) and Eulogio del Pino, president of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, are seen at a swearing-in ceremony of the new board of directors of PDVSA in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 31, 2017.

Venezuela's chief prosecutor says two former top oil bosses have been arrested as part of a widespread crackdown on corruption.

Attorney-General Tarek Saab said former Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino and Nelson Martinez, former president of state oil company PDVSA, were arrested early Thursday. Both had been removed from their positions Sunday by President Nicolas Maduro in a Cabinet shakeup.

Last week, Venezuelan authorities arrested the acting president of Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of PDVSA, along with five other senior executives, for alleged corruption.

Members of the Venezuelan opposition argue that recent investigations do not demonstrate a genuine intention of the government to eradicate corruption, but only reflect internal struggles of PDVSA.

Venezuela is one of OPEC's top producers, but figures show the country's production has fallen, reaching a 28-year low in October. Analysts say PDVSA has not been able to come up with the money to maintain and upgrade its infrastructure. Critics say mismanagement and corruption are to blame.

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