Venezuela shuts down crypto mining and exchange operations amidst corruption inquiry regarding parallel oil businesses with the national crypto department.
In the midst of a corruption investigation involving the nation’s oil company and the national crypto department, Venezuela has enforced the suspension of cryptocurrency mining facilities and exchanges across the country. Moreover, allegations have surfaced from Venezuela’s attorney general office that government officials were involved in parallel oil ventures, supported by the national crypto department.
Reports from local media and tweets from the National Association of Cryptocurrencies in Venezuela have shed light on the recent shutdown of crypto mining operations in the states of Lara, Carabobo, and Bolívar. Moreover, the total number of impacted crypto enterprises remains unclear. Several cryptocurrency exchanges also stopped their activities.
The primary reason behind the closure of cryptocurrency mining facilities is the ongoing corruption probe involving PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, and the country’s crypto department. Venezuela’s attorney general, Tarek William Saab, unveiled on March 25 that government officials were allegedly operating parallel oil businesses in collusion with the national crypto department. Saab provided further details on Twitter, explaining that “This network used a conglomerate of commercial companies to legitimize the capital obtained from sales through the acquisition of crypto-assets, personal and real estate.”
In connection with the investigations, Saab confirmed the arrest of at least ten individuals, including Joselit Ramirez Camacho, who had overseen the crypto department since its inception in 2018. Camacho was in charge of managing cryptocurrency tax rules and the nation’s cryptocurrency PetroDollar (XPD). Earlier reports indicate that authorities arrested Camacho on March 17 as part of the ongoing inquiry.
Camacho was on the United States Most Wanted List since June 2020. The Department of Homeland Security Investigators has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Petro’s supervisor. Authorities have claimed that Camacho has “deep political, social, and economic ties” to suspected narcotics traffickers, including Tareck El Aissami, the former vice president of Venezuela.
On March 17, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro issued a decree announcing the reorganization of the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets. Furthermore, the Maduro administration stated that this decision aimed to protect the country’s citizens from the negative consequences of economic sanctions, among other justifications.
As the corruption investigation progresses and the shutdown of crypto mining and exchange operations continues, the fate of Venezuela’s cryptocurrency industry remains uncertain. With the government’s efforts to restructure the national crypto department, it is vital for both local and international investors to remain up-to-date and adapt to the fast-changing landscape of Venezuela’s cryptocurrency market. In these challenging times, staying informed and making well-informed decisions can help investors navigate the complex and evolving world of cryptocurrency in Venezuela.