The Bulgarian government has uncovered a scheme to illegally withdraw funds from Venezuela, Bulgarian local media reported, citing a statement by the country’s Prosecutor General, Sotir Tsatsarov.
According to Tsatsarov, millions of euros belonging to the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA have been transferred to bank accounts in Bulgaria. PDVSA is currently under US sanctions.
Bulgaria is exchanging information with the US about these suspicious transfers, Tsatsarov noted, adding that it was the US which drew the Bulgarian authorities’ attention to them.
A Bulgarian citizen was involved in the scheme, but he is currently outside the country, the Prosecutor General observed. Some funds have already been withdrawn to accounts in other countries, but the remaining funds have been frozen by the Bulgarian government.
Bulgaria will probably initiate a money-laundering case in connection with the activity, the prosecutor noted.
Earlier, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó said that the Maduro regime had sold 73 tons of Venezuelan gold to the UAE and Turkey.
On 23 January, a new wave of mass protests began in Venezuela against president Nicolás Maduro, who was inaugurated at the start of January. Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president during a massive rally in Caracas.