Venezuelan Oil Minister Tarek El Aissami has announced his resignation. According to AP, this comes against the backdrop of an investigation into corruption in the leadership of the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the oil industry in general, as well as in the government.
Announcing his resignation in connection with the investigation of “serious cases of corruption in the PDVSA,” Mr. el-Aissami wrote on his Twitter: President Nicolás Maduro against anti-values, against which we must fight even at the cost of our lives.”
Tarek El Aissami has been the head of the Venezuelan Ministry of Petroleum since April 2020. In addition, he has been heading the Ministry of Industry and National Production since 2018. Prior to that, in 2008-2012, he headed the Ministry of Justice and the Interior, in 2012-2017 he was the governor of the state of Aragua. In 2017-2018, he served as Vice President of Venezuela for Economics and Finance, and during this period he was included in the sanctions lists of several countries, including the United States, Canada, EU countries, on charges of corruption, human rights violations and drug trafficking. According to the US, Tarek el-Aissami “controlled the supply or partially owned consignments of drugs weighing more than 1 thousand kg, shipped from Venezuela, including to Mexico and the United States.”
The Anti-Corruption Authority announced last week that it had launched an investigation into corruption in the oil industry and the Venezuelan government. Yesterday, the country’s prosecutor general announced that more than a dozen officials had already been arrested, including those associated with PDVSA. According to him, new arrests of suspects are expected. President Maduro accepted the resignation of the minister in order to “facilitate the progress of the investigation, which should end in establishing the truth, punishing the guilty and justice.”