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Friday, June 9, 2023

National Exchanges Reportedly Pause Operations in Venezuela

National Exchanges Reportedly Pause Operations in Venezuela – The investigation into the alleged involvement of Sunacrip, the Venezuelan crypto watchdog, in the illegal sale of oil to third parties, known as the “Crypto-PDVSA” anti-corruption probe, is ongoing. As a result of the investigation, all trading activity of national cryptocurrency exchanges has been halted, and no date has been announced for the resumption of operations, according to recent reports.

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Ana Ojeda, a Venezuelan cryptocurrency lawyer, also known as “Criptolawyer” on Twitter, stated: “Venezuelan exchanges close operations by orders of Sunacrip. Supposedly temporary measures while the institution is restructured.” Ojeda also confirmed that registered miners from all over the country were forced to pause their operations while the probe continues, stating that “digital miners from all over the country, registered with the agency, have also been turned off.”

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Cryptobuyer, which is one of the major exchanges in the country, initially announced in a press release that it would halt its activities in accordance with orders from Sunacrip. However, a few hours later, it released another statement contradicting the earlier one, clarifying that it was only temporarily stopping its own operations.

During a press conference on March 25th, Tarek William Saab, the attorney general of Venezuela, confirmed that Sunacrip was involved in parallel operations that facilitated the illegal sale of oil to third parties. Saab provided details on how this corruption scheme operated, explaining that officials from the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, used their influence to execute oil sales that were separate from those conducted by the company.

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According to Saab, following these illegal operations, Sunacrip did not hand over the profits from the sale of the oil to PDVSA. Instead, the funds were allegedly used to purchase cryptocurrency assets and for other activities in an effort to launder the money. However, Saab did not specify whether cryptocurrencies were used as a means of payment for the illegally sold crude. Presently, 11 individuals have been apprehended in connection with these crimes, including former head of Sunacrip, Joselit Ramirez.


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