US offers $ 10 million for data on two former Venezuelan ministers accused of corruption

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They are officials from the electricity area, linked to millionaire bribes and recurring blackouts. Harsh response from Maduro.

The United States offered up to $ 10 million in reward for any information on two former Venezuelan ministers whom it accuses of collecting bribes and linked to the collapse of the Caribbean country’s electricity system.

“The United States Department of State announces rewards of up to $ 5 million, each, for information that leads to the arrests or convictions” of former Venezuelan Minister of Electricity Luis Alfredo Motta Domínguez and his advisor Eustiquio José Lugo Gómez, said the US Chancellor Mike Pompeo in a statement.

Motta Domínguez and Lugo Gómez were indicted on June 27, 2019 by the United States prosecutor of embezzle public funds for your own benefit.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who also receives a $ 15 million reward from Washington for information leading to his capture, reacted by denouncing “a ‘cowboy’ type of persecution, a mafia type of persecution” against his former collaborators.

According to the indictment, Motta Domínguez and Lugo Gómez allegedly awarded three Florida-based companies more than $ 60 million in acquisition contracts with the state-owned Corpoelec (National Electric Corporation) in exchange for money for them.

On July 28 of this year, both were barred from entering the United States, amid growing tension between the governments of Washington and Caracas.

The United States justified its actions and pointed out that these rewards are part of the “commitment of the State Department to the fight against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.”

Motta Domínguez is a retired general who was removed from the post of minister in April 2019, amidst the blackouts which in recent years have become commonplace. Meanwhile, Lugo Gómez was in charge of the acquisitions of Corpoelec.

Plunged into a serious political and economic crisis, Venezuela suffered a series of blackouts last year. The biggest was in March, when a gigantic fault plunged the country into darkness for a week.

Maduro attributed them to “electromagnetic attacks” by the United States, in complicity with the opposition, to overthrow him.

But power outages are common in the country with the largest oil reserve for several years, which also suffers from a chronic fuel shortage.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the United States last Tuesday offered rewards of up to $ 20 million for information leading to the arrest of three former Caracas government police chiefs accused of importing drugs into the United States.

Washington offers up to $ 10 million for Pedro Luis Martín Olivares, former head of Economic Intelligence of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).

In addition, it promises 5 million for Rodolfo McTurk Mora, former head of Interpol in Venezuela; and another 5 million for Jesús Alfredo Itriago, former chief of narcotics of the scientific police (CICPC).

Source: AFP and DPA

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