Spain: 2 linked with late Venezuelan president detained
April 25 at 7:42 PM
CARACAS, Venezuela â" Spanish authorities acknowledged on Wednesday that a married couple with links to Venezuelaâs late President Hugo Chavez has been arrested in a case of suspected corruption in their home country.
Officials in Madrid said they detained the pair at Venezuelaâs request.
The two are Claudia Diaz, a one-time nurse of Chavez who later climbed the ranks at the National Treasury to head the countryâs accounts from 2011 to 2013 and also was named secretary of the National Development Fund, and her husband, Adrian Velasquez Figueroa, a former member of the presidential palaceâs security detail.
Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab had announced the arrests in early April, but officials in Spain at first denied it.
Venezuelan officials are seeking them on suspicion of corruption revealed in the Panama Papers â" a huge doc ument leak from a Panamanian law firm that put a spotlight on how the rich and powerful hide their fortunes.
âWe understand that Venezuela accuses them of money laundering, but that is not totally clear,â said Manuel Varela, a U.S. lawyer for the couple. He called the allegations against his clients a âpolitical persecution that has been going on for years.â
Varela disputed that Diaz ever served with the National Development Fund, a body that for years received billions of dollars from âsurplusâ international reserves with the purpose of launching the governmentâs socialist programs.
Venezuelan officials announced a decision late last year to reopen a wide investigation stemming from the Panama Papers.
Saab said the couple was being investigated in the case along with Eudomario Carruyo, former vice president of finance at the state-run oil company PDVSA, and retired Gen. Victor Cruz Weffer, a former army commander who was arrested in Venezu ela last month.
A Spanish judge is expected to hold a hearing Thursday on the married coupleâs possible extradition to Venezuela.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Source: Google News Spain | Netizen 24 Spain