Venezuela Arrests 2 Over Panama Papers Scandal

Venezuelan prosecutors have announced the arrest of two relatives of a former security official named in the Panama Papers.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
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The Panama Papers are a trove of leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, detailing how the firm aided the world's rich and powerful to stash financial assets in tax havens. (Alba Ciudad)
The Panama Papers are a trove of leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, detailing how the firm aided the world's rich and powerful to stash financial assets in tax havens. (Alba Ciudad)

Puebla, Mexico, April 22, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan prosecutors have announced the arrest of two relatives of a former security official named in the Panama Papers.

Businessperson Josmel Velasquez Figueroa was detained by officials at an airport in Miranda state while trying to leave the country on April 15.

Details of the arrest were made public Wednesday by the public prosecutor's office.

According to a statement from the prosecution, Josmel was arrested with his mother on charges of criminal association and money laundering. His mother was later released for health reasons.

The pair was arrested for their “alleged ties to the Panama Papers case,” the statement said.

Josmel's brother, former security official Adrian Velasquez Figueroa, was named in the Panama Papers a trove of leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The documents include details of how the firm aided the world's rich and powerful to stash financial assets in tax havens, and name international figures like Argentine President Mauricio Macri, and government officials from Syria to Iceland.

Adrian is one of just a handful of Venezuelan nationals named in the papers. He served as chief of security at Venezuela's presidential palace under the Chavez administration, but now lives in the Dominican Republic. Adrian and his wife, former National Treasury Office president Claudia Diaz Guillen allegedly amassed a fortune of more than US$1.6 million.

The Mossack Fonseca documents indicate the pair began setting up offshore financial accounts just days after current president Nicolas Maduro narrowly won elections in 2013.

The two have no known current ties to the Maduro administration.

Authorities have said they became suspicious of Josmel and his mother after uncovering expensive cars, jewellery and other luxury items at their homes.

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