Venezuela’s top authority on crypto policies, Joselit Ramirez, has been removed from his position and arrested for suspicion of participating in a scheme to steal from Venezuela’s oil operations.
Venezuela has overhauled its national crypto department after Joselit Ramirez, who spearheaded the department since it was established in 2018, was arrested on March 17 on charges of corruption. Venezuelan president Nicolas Madura removed Ramirez from his position for allegedly participating in a plan to steal from the country’s oil operations.
Decrypt reports Ramirez’s removal does not affect only him but also a large portion of the department. The Venezuelan government has called for a comprehensive restructuring of the Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (SUNACRIP).
According to the SUNACRIP Restructuring Decree, the board will plan the next steps for the department. President Madura’s administration claims the move to restructure is aimed at protecting Venezuelans from the adverse effects of economic sanctions.
President Madura declared:
That it is the duty of the State to take all measures at its disposal to protect the Venezuelan people from the negative effects of the multiform aggression that is taking place against the country and, especially, against its economy.
The restructuring will be coordinated by a mixed commission comprising a president and four directors endorsed by Madura. The Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Commerce will supervise the operation.
A new board headed by Anabel Pereira Fernández will lead the organization going forward. Among the board’s new directors are Héctor Andrés Obregón Pérez, Luis Alberto Pérez González and Julio César Mora Sánchez.
President Madura has not yet issued an official statement on the matter, and the government has not yet provided reasons for Ramirez’s removal. Still, the overwhelming theory is that Ramirez was involved in acts of corruption. Local media publication Últimas Noticias broke the story about Ramirez’s arrest by the National Anticorruption Police after a request was issued for judicial proceedings against “a series of citizens who could be involved in serious acts of administrative corruption and embezzlement of funds.”
The report states that Venezuelan authorities are investigating a case of corruption in which $3 billion from Venezuelan oil sales were diverted so as not to appear in the government’s official accounts.
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