CARACAS – General Manuel Quevedo will be the new oil minister and head of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), working to restructure the state-owned oil giant, President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday.
“We’re going to have a total restructuring of PDVSA, that’s why I’m announcing that this restructuring will be led by ... Maj. Gen. Manuel Quevedo as the new president of the petroleum industry, our beloved PDVSA and, at the same time, the naming of Manuel Quevedo as the country’s new oil and energy minister,” Maduro said during his weekly show.
The president vowed to end corruption at PDVSA, which had been run by Nelson Martinez, while Eulogio Del Pino served as oil minister.
Maduro did not say whether Martinez and Del Pino would be named to other posts.
Citgo, the US unit of PDVSA, has been plagued by a corruption scandal that led to the arrest of six executives, including CEO Jose Angel Pereira Ruimwyk.
Maduro called the executives implicated in the corruption case “traitors to the fatherland.”
On Friday, a US State Department official told EFE that the US Embassy in Caracas had asked Venezuela’s government for permission to provide “consular access” to the American citizens detained in the South American country.
On Nov. 21, Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the top six executives at Citgo had been arrested on corruption charges.
The accused signed contracts that “compromised the national patrimony and the future of this important subsidiary,” the AG said.
Taken into custody along with Pereira Ruimwyk were five company vice presidents: Tomeu Vadell, Alirio Zambrano, Jorge Toledo, Gustavo Cardenas and Jose Luis Zambrano.
All six are accused of embezzling public funds, money laundering and criminal conspiracy, among other offenses.
The accusations spring from debt-refinancing contracts Citgo signed on July 15 with Frontier Group Management and Apollo Global Management, Saab said.
The defendants effectively put up Citgo as collateral for loans to PDVSA on unfavorable terms while arranging for intermediaries to collect millions of dollars in commissions, the AG said.
PDVSA acquired a 50 percent interest in 1986 in Citgo, which was founded in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1910, and the remainder of the stock four years later.
Citgo has a vast network of service stations and operates refineries in Texas, Illinois and Louisiana with a capacity of about 750,000 barrels per day.