National cryptocurrency exchanges have paused their activities in Venezuela according to reports, as the anti-corruption probe on national crypto watchdog Sunacrip and unlawful oil sales continues in the country. Tarek William Saab, attorney general, confirmed the involvement of the institution in a parallel scheme that involved the sale of Venezuelan oil to third parties, mentioning Sunacrip as part of the criminal structure.
National Exchanges Pause Operations in Venezuela
The “Crypto-PDVSA” anti-corruption probe, named after the state-owned oil company, is still investigating the involvement of Sunacrip, the Venezuelan crypto watchdog, in the illegal sale of oil to third parties.
According to recent reports, the probe has resulted in the pause of all trading activity of national cryptocurrency exchanges, with no date for resuming operations announced.
Ana Ojeda, a Venezuelan cryptocurrency lawyer, also known as “Criptolawyer” on Twitter, stated:
Venezuelan exchanges close operations by orders of Sunacrip. Supposedly temporary measures while the institution is restructured.
Ojeda also confirmed that registered miners from all over the country were forced to pause their operations while the probe continues, stating 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, issued a press release in which it stated that it would be pausing its activities according to orders issued by Sunacrip, but hours later, it issued yet another release that denied this, stating that it was reporting about a temporal stop in its own operations.
Attorney General Confirms Sunacrip’s Involvement in Oil Sale Scheme
Tarek William Saab, attorney general of Venezuela, officially confirmed the involvement of Sunacrip in parallel operations that successfully allowed the sale of oil to third parties. In a press conference offered on March 25, Saab explained, in part, how this corruption scheme operated. He declared that PDVSA officials used their influence to execute oil sales that were parallel to the ones executed by the state-owned oil company.
After these operations, Sunacrip did not deliver the proceeds of the sale of this oil to PDVSA. Saab said the money was used to buy cryptocurrency assets and injected into other activities in order to launder it. However, Saab did not say whether cryptocurrencies were used as a payment method for the illegally sold crude.
There are currently 11 people apprehended in relation to these crimes, including former Sunacrip head Joselit Ramirez.
What do you think about the pause of trading activities of cryptocurrency exchanges in Venezuela and the Crypto-PDVSA probe? Tell us in the comment section below.