April 15, 2021

Venezuela says that it requested to Spain extradition of exviceministro chavista

Venezuela says that it requested to Spain extradition of exviceministro chavista



The Venezuelan Attorney General, Tarek Saab, said today that his office asked Spain to extradite Nervis Villalobos, who was Vice Minister of Energy of the late President Hugo Chávez, and said he was "sure" that the request will proceed.

"We argue very properly," Saab said in an interview with private channel Globovisión.

Sabb also said he hopes this extradition process will happen "as quickly as possible."

Villalobos was arrested two weeks ago in Madrid, where he was imprisoned preventively.

The Spanish Prosecutor's Office then requested his arrest alleging that new indications of money laundering have been found against him, specifically that he laundered money from bribes of the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) in a single-family housing development in the Spanish coastal city from Marbella (south).

This alleged money laundering would have been carried out together with three other persons through the company Columbus Properties One, with registered office in Madrid, which was registered in an operation.

According to Spanish police, in the operation against Villalobos 115 properties valued at 60 million euros (some 69 million dollars at the current exchange rate) were seized, among which are a hotel, a luxury development in Marbella and several located in the city. Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca.

The Venezuelan prosecutor, appointed by the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), a body composed only of Chavistas and not recognized by several countries, said that the executive secretary of the National Development Fund, Claudia Díaz and her husband Adrián Velásquez, were also asked for Spain.

Saab explained that Díaz -who also took care of Chávez when he suffered from cancer- and Velásquez are required for crimes of "legitimization of capital, association to commit crime and illicit enrichment".

He explained that both "are mentioned in the so-called Panama papers" linked to the legal company Mossack Fonseca, with "at least seven companies registered in tax havens established in Panama" and verified by the Prosecutor's Office.

Among the properties that Díaz and Velásquez could not, according to Saab, demonstrate that they were legitimately acquired are "nine apartments, three houses, four inns, a diving company, four vehicles and two motorcycles," he concluded.

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