SAN JOSE – Former Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega said on Monday in Costa Rica that she can prove that her country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, pocketed between $8 million and $10 million in public funds.
“There are many officials compromised by the issue of corruption (involving Brazil’s) Odebrecht company, apart from President Nicolas Maduro, who removed from the treasury between $8-10 million in cash and paid that to an important firm,” said Ortega at a press conference.
According to the former AG, to undertake the “corruption plot,” a Venezuelan company “named Contextus Comunicacion Corporativa was used as a front.”
The firm, she continued, is owned by Monika Ortigosa, the wife of Alejandro Escarra, who is the nephew of Hermann Escarra, a member of the Constituent National Assembly (ANC), whose members were recently elected and tasked by the Caracas government with rewriting the Constitution.
The corruption operation “involves (former Vice President) Elias Jaua, Jorge Rodriguez, Jesse Chacon and Maximilian Sanchez,” Ortega added.
She said that she recently turned over proof of this and other cases to “US prosecutors” and on Monday also to Costa Rican Attorney General Jorge Chavarria, who also serves as head of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors.
“In Venezuela, it’s not possible to see justice done and so I’m turning over evidence to different countries,” Ortega said.
She also said that powerful ANC member Diosdado Cabello is also involved in the Odebrecht scandal, but she did not reveal further details, although she did say that evidence of this fact was turned over to US and Brazilian prosecutors.
The former Venezuelan AG arrived on Monday in Costa Rica and refused to reveal the details of her agenda there for security reasons, adding that she will not return to Venezuela because her life is in danger there. She did, however, say that she will continue fighting from outside Venezuela to ensure that her homeland “returns to democracy and freedom.”
Ortega was ousted on Aug. 5 by the ANC, which accused her of committing “immoral acts” and claimed that her husband was part of an extortion plot allegedly run from within the AG’s Office.