HomeNewsBrief$84 Mn Embezzlement Case Underscores Venezuela Corruption
BRIEF

$84 Mn Embezzlement Case Underscores Venezuela Corruption

VENEZUELA / 11 JUL 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Authorities have arrested a former Venezuela bank official accused of embezzling $84 million, while the daughter of the former president is also caught up in a financial crime scandal, two cases that serve to highlight the government corruption wracking the country.

On July 2, Venezuelan national Javier Elias Briceño Scott was arrested in Mexico City for allegedly embezzling $84 million through the government-managed China-Venezuela Fund, of the national bank BANDES, where he worked in executive management. Seven other individuals have been implicated in the case, including the executive manager of the fund and the legal coordinator, reported El Nuevo Herald.

The case comes amidst accusations Maria Gabriela Chavez, the daughter of late President Hugo Chavez, took part in a government purchase fraud scheme worth over $15 million, in which members of the Venezuelan government allegedly purchased corn and rice at significantly above market price.

InSight Crime Analysis

The China-Venezuela fund is just one of several large funds managed under the sole discretion of the president. The lack of transparency regarding how these are managed, as well as missing money, has led to past accusations one major fund -- Fonden -- was a slush fund used arbitrarily by the executive. 

The idea that high-level employees of the national bank managing one such fund were able to skim off such a large sum speaks to the overall deep corruption present within the Venezuelan government, and raises serious questions regarding the supervision of these accounts. 

According to Transparency International's 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, Venezuela is perceived as the second most corrupt country in Latin America after Haiti, with over half of its citizens believing the problem has been getting worse. On an international level, Venezuela ranked 160th out of 175 countries ranging from those perceived as least to most corrupt.

In addition to the government's secretive financial dealings, the country's police force and judicial system have been pointed to as particularly corrupt, a phenomenon that has helped fuel instability, violence and organized crime activity. A 2013 World Justice Project report ranked Venezuela's judicial system as one of the worst in the world

SEE ALSO: Cartel de los Soles Profile

Rampant corruption has also seen the rise of the so-called "Cartel de los Soles," a term used to refer to corrupt elements of the Venezuelan military involved in cocaine trafficking. In 2013, various members of the Bolivarian National Guard were arrested following the seizure of 1.3 tons of cocaine that had been flown from Venezuela to France on a commercial flight.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

VENEZUELA / 25 SEP 2014

Venezuela has launched a smartphone app that connects users to the nearest police unit in case of emergency, part of…

ILLEGAL MINING / 17 MAY 2021

The escalating violence between security forces and a gang that formerly enjoyed official protection in Venezuela's foremost mining region shows…

VENEZUELA / 25 NOV 2011

The demand for bodyguards has surged by 70 percent in Venezuela in recent years, according to a bodyguard association, with…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…