Venezuela Names New Leaders At Oil Firm PDVSA To 'Defeat Corruption'

Venezuela Names New Leaders At Oil Firm PDVSA To 'Defeat Corruption'
Venezuela's president creates an executive vice president post and names new vice presidents to lead PDVSA in what he described as a shake-up of the state oil company.


CARACAS, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Venezuela's president on Sunday created an executive vice president post and named new vice presidents to lead PDVSA in what he described as a shake-up of the state oil company and an effort to root out corruption in the OPEC nation's principal industry.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro kept Eulogio Del Pino as PDVSA president but created a new post of executive vice president while naming vice presidents in areas including finance and exploration.

PDVSA has been dogged for years by corruption ranging from lucrative smuggling of heavily subsidized fuel to kickbacks and bribery that led to prosecution of U.S.-based contractors who did business with the company.

"We have to clean out the corruption that has incubated in (the oil industry), I call on the oilworkers to forcefully defeat corruption," Maduro said in his weekly broadcast.

"That's why I have asked Eulogio del Pino ... to lead this new leadership team and focus one hundred percent on the industry this year."

Leadership changes at PDVSA in recent years have not significantly altered the company's management style, which has been characterized by heavy social spending, slumping crude production, and chronic payment disputes with suppliers.

Maribel Parra, who Maduro identified as a rear admiral in the armed forces, takes up the newly created post of executive vice president.

The new finance vice president is Simon Zerpa, who has led a bilateral Venezuela-China fund through which Caracas has borrowed billions of dollars from Beijing that it repays in oil and fuel shipments.

Venezuela is battling triple-digit inflation and a severe recession as a result of low oil prices and an unraveling socialist economic system, leaving millions of citizens struggling to eat and waiting for hours in supermarket lines.

Maduro says his government is a victim of an "economic war" led by his adversaries.

Corruption at PDVSA was put on display in U.S. courts last year when businessmen Roberto Rincon and Abraham Shiera pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to PDVSA officials to secure energy contracts.

Former PDVSA employees also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. The company at the time described the charges as a smear campaign against it.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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RICARDO REYES | Feb. 14, 2017
Great comment David, 90% of the population wants Maduro to quit but only if you live in Venezuela you will understand there is no more democracy, but a masked dictatorship ruling the country supported by corrupt Generals. In reference to your comment to turn over the business to International oil companies, it seems PDVSA is slowly turning into that direction, not because they like it but because they ran out of cash and they are so incompetent and corrupt that the only way they can save the industry is giving turnkey projects to private companies under some kind of production share agreements where investors get paid with crude. Nobody wants to give more credit to PDVSA. Schlumberger is still waiting for checks from PDVSA for the 1,5 Billion in receivables accumulated in the past 4 years.

David Thompson | Jan. 31, 2017
Oust the president and all his relatives and youd have a decent start. Then start looking at the assets of all the rest and figure out who has too much for his purported income. Do the same for the military and seize all their assets. Then look at the Oil Company, see who actually has any education in the business, oust those who dont (most of them). Put the whole operation out for bids with no Venezuelans eligible, all monies to be paid offshore, all expenses paid, a prearranged profit allowed and the Venezuelan Government gets the rest. No hands in between. Could be really tough for the ruling elite. Oh, keep the customs officers out of the picture. I had enough experience in Colombia.

john weaver | Jan. 30, 2017
The tail on the dog ?Tail does not wag the dog.

David Thompson | Jan. 30, 2017
First thing, get rid of Maduro.


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