By Laura Gamba
BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami resigned Monday amid a widening corruption probe into state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).
“In light of the investigations that have begun about serious occurrences of corruption at PDVSA, I have taken the decision to present my resignation as oil minister, with the intent to support, accompany and totally back this process,” El Aissami, one of the most influential leaders in the country's government, wrote on his Twitter account.
"Likewise, as a revolutionary militant, I place myself at the disposal of the leadership of the (ruling party) PSUV to support this crusade that President Nicolas Maduro has undertaken against the anti-values that we are forced to fight, even with our lives," he added.
El Aissami's resignation comes days after the Attorney General's Office and the government announced that there would be judicial proceedings to arrest and investigate an undetermined number of officials allegedly involved in acts of corruption.
Maduro has launched an anti-corruption operation in recent days that has led to the arrest of officials, two judges and a mayor involved in a corruption case. Six people have been arrested so far in connection with the corruption probe, Public Prosecutor Tarek William Saab said Monday.
The specific charges and the corruption cases in which the detained individuals are involved have not been officially disclosed.
El Aissami, who had been oil minister since 2020, is included together with Maduro on a "wanted" list by the US government, which has offered a reward of $10 million for his arrest for allegedly being related to drug trafficking crimes. Aissami has denied all allegations.