Second death of detainee in Venezuela graft probe

Second death of detainee in Venezuela graft probe

Venezuela Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the detainee had been suffering from a 'terminal illness'
Venezuela Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the detainee had been suffering from a 'terminal illness'. Photo: Federico PARRA / AFP
Source: AFP

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A second detainee arrested in a huge anti-corruption investigation in Venezuela has died, the country's attorney general Tarek William Saab said.

Juan Almeida had long been suffering from a "terminal illness diagnosed as hepatic cirrhosis," a type of liver disease, Saab wrote on Twitter late Monday.

Almeida was one of 61 people arrested as part of a probe into the state oil company PDVSA and its US-based subsidiary Citgo, launched in March.

PDVSA directors, top officials and managers responsible for Venezuela's Petro cryptocurrency were amongst those arrested.

After the scandal broke, then-oil minister Tareck El Aissami resigned.

Almeida had been a technological operator working for El Aissami.

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"At the moment of his death he was in his home after being granted the humanitarian measure of house arrest," said Saab.

Several experts accuse President Nicolas Maduro of using the investigation as an excuse for a "political purge" with elections just a year away.

In April, another detainee committed suicide, according to authorities, but rights groups have demanded an independent investigation into that death.

Source: AFP

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