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News > Latin America

Italy To Extradite PDVSA Former President to Venezuela

  • Rafael Ramirez.

    Rafael Ramirez. | Photo: Twitter/ @segurosybanca

Published 14 July 2021 (4 hours 14 minutes ago)
Opinion

Rafael Ramirez must return to this South American country to face charges of fraudulent embezzlement and evasion of the bidding procedure.

On Tuesday, the Rome Court of Appeals (RCA) expressed a favorable opinion for the extradition of Rafael Ramirez, who was the president of the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) between 2004 and 2013.

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"There are no elements to believe the criminal proceedings pending before the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s judicial authority are the result of a politically motivated persecutory activity," the RCA Attorney General Roberto Cavallone stated in the pronouncement favorable to the extradition.

"There are also no elements to believe the procedure to which the accused would be subjected in his country will not respect his fundamental rights," he added.

In July 2020, Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) declared admissible the extradition request submitted to Italy against Ramirez, who must return to this South American country to face charges of fraudulent embezzlement and evasion of the bidding procedure.

In that extradition request, the Judges specified he would only be prosecuted for the aforementioned crimes and would not be sentenced to death or a life imprisonment. They also stated that the time the accused has been detained in Italy would be considered in the case of a conviction.

In Venezuela, Ramirez is under investigation because of irregularities in a contract regarding gas drilling and extraction, which was signed between PDVSA and Petrosaudi Oil Services (POS).

This investigation began with a complaint about overpayments happening between these companies. After comparing the offer provided by POS with the rates charged by other companies, the judges found the prices differed from the values agreed in the initial contract.

In 2017, after resigning from his position as Venezuela's ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Ramirez declared himself a politically persecuted person and fled justice. Once a Caracas-based court issued an arrest warrant against Ramirez, Interpol placed him on the international red notifications list.

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