National crypto exchanges have reportedly halted trading activities in Venezuela following allegations that the national crypto regulator Sunacrip was involved in a criminal scheme involving the sale of Venezuelan oil. Tarek William Saab, the country’s attorney general, has confirmed the involvement of the institution in the parallel oil sale network.
Crypto Trading Halts in Venezuela
The “Crypto-PDVSA” anti-corruption investigation, named after the state-owned oil company, is still probing the activities of Sunacrip, the Venezuelan crypto watchdog, in relation to the illegal sale of oil to third parties.
Recent reports have indicated that the probe has resulted in the suspension of operations of national cryptocurrency exchanges, with no date for resumption of activities announced. Ana Ojeda, a Venezuelan crypto attorney, also known as “Criptolawyer” on Twitter, announced:
Venezuelan exchanges have closed their doors following orders from Sunacrip. The halt is allegedly temporary while the institution reorganizes itself.
Ojeda further confirmed state-registered miners from all over the country were also forced to cease operations while the probe is ongoing, noting that “digital miners from all over the country, registered with the agency, have also been turned off.”
Cryptobuyer, one of the main exchanges in the country, released a press statement indicating that it was halting its activities in compliance with orders issued by Sunacrip, but a few hours later, it retracted the statement, clarifying that it was reporting about a temporary stop in its own operations.
Sunacrip Implicated in Oil Sale Scam
Tarek William Saab, attorney general of Venezuela, officially confirmed the involvement of Sunacrip in a parallel network that successfully allowed the sale of oil to third parties. During a press conference held on March 25, Saab explained, in part, how this corruption scheme operated. He said that PDVSA officials used their influence to make oil sales that were in addition to the ones executed by the state-owned company.
After these operations, Sunacrip did not transfer the proceeds of the sale of this oil to PDVSA. Saab revealed that the money was used to buy cryptocurrency assets and injected into other activities in order to launder it. However, Saab did not indicate whether cryptos were used as a payment method for the illegally sold crude.
At the moment, 11 individuals have been detained in relation to these crimes, including former Sunacrip head Joselit Ramirez.
What do you think about the pause of crypto trading activities in Venezuela and the Crypto-PDVSA probe? Tell us in the comment section below.
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