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The judge of 'Caranjuez' interrogates witnesses this Wednesday for the alleged police extortion of former Venezuelan charges

Investigate an alleged network that would have captured former members of the Government of Venezuela in exchange for money and information from Podemos.

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The judge of 'Caranjuez' interrogates witnesses this Wednesday for the alleged police extortion of former Venezuelan charges

Investigate an alleged network that would have captured former members of the Government of Venezuela in exchange for money and information from Podemos


The judge investigating the so-called 'Caranjuez' case will hear several witnesses this Friday in the framework of the case in which the alleged network of police officers and lawyers who allegedly defrauded and/or extorted ex-charges of the Venezuelan Executive --some of them investigated in the National Court for money laundering crimes-- in exchange for money and information from Podemos.

Although at first they were scheduled to testify on April 20, the judge finally modified the calendar and distributed the testimonials between May 3 and 18 and June 14. Specifically, the former Vice Minister of Electric Energy of Venezuela Nervis Villalobos and the former treasurer of the Bolivarian Government and nurse of Hugo Chávez, Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, are summoned as witnesses.

They have also been called to appear Adrián Velásquez, a military man who was appointed to the Venezuelan presidential house; Rafael Reiter, a former head of Security for the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA); and Hugo Ramalho, a Portuguese financier.

Already in the initial ruling, when the judge agreed to the request of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor to summon them, the instructor pointed out that everyone could "declare by videoconference if they were outside of Spain", as is the case with some. These ex-charges of the Venezuelan Government, when summoned by witnesses, will have the obligation to appear before the judge and answer truthfully, without being able to avoid questions from any of the parties that are present in the procedure.

In this sense, it should be remembered that Villalobos and Reiter have been investigated by the National Court for alleged money laundering, while Díaz Guillén and Velásquez have been claimed by the United States authorities in the framework of an investigation for alleged money laundering. money.

In the case of Villalobos, the head of the Central Court of Instruction Number 3, María Tardón, archived the investigation she was carrying out against him for alleged money laundering in relation to the entry of funds in favor of him and his wife in the entity Spanish Bank of Madrid.

Apart from this round of statements, the judge of the 'Caranjuez case' had already set for next May 18 the questioning, as witnesses, of two agents of the National Police.

The head of the court has pending to hold these interrogations after last October she heard a dozen defendants, including lawyers, national and municipal agents. In September, she also took a statement from the alleged victims of the police network under investigation.

All these interrogations are part of the procedure in which -according to the police reports to which this agency had access- an alleged network of lawyers and police officers approached several Venezuelans who were allegedly related to money laundering activities "with the in order to request money from them in exchange for asserting their supposed ability to influence before public bodies" to "solve the problems" that they would have due to being investigated.

In addition to asking them for money in exchange for said "influences", the members of the network would also have been "interested" in being provided with "information about the political party Podemos and its possible links with Venezuela, among other information", according to a report. of the Central Investigation Brigade for Money Laundering and Anti-Corruption drawn up in 2020.

Said report also maintains that the network that is now being investigated in the Plaza de Castilla Courts is made up mainly of national and local police officers, lawyers and a former military officer; and would have received "millions of euros from Venezuelan citizens related to criminal activities."

However, according to the legal sources consulted by Europa Press, on October 6 the alleged members of the network denied having offered former Venezuelan Government officials services and "influence" in the Administration in exchange for money and information from Podemos; They also denied having requested or collected money from the alleged victims or having threatened them.

The versions of all those investigated are directly opposed to that of the alleged victims, who confirmed in court that they had been extorted, according to sources present in the statements.

So far, the case includes three alleged victims: former Vice Minister of Electrical Development of Venezuela Javier Alvarado Ochoa, a financial adviser named Dimas Antúnez and a former member of the Venezuelan Intelligence Service named Carlos Aguilera.

Within the framework of the investigation, the judge also agreed to charge some thirty companies as legal persons. In this case, she has not yet established when the interrogations of the legal representatives of the investigated companies will take place.