CARACAS, March 20 Venezuela has charged the
presidents of two subcontractors with corruption for overbilling
in equipment sales at the OPEC country's main oil-exporting
port, the public prosecutor's office said on Monday.
The former manager of state oil company PDVSA's Jose
terminal has already been jailed over the purchase of two
monobuoys costing $76.2 million.
A monobuoy is a floating platform where vessels, especially
oil tankers, too large to get into port can moor and unload.
The presidents of Venezuela-based Castillo Max and Guevara
Training, Miguel Castillo and Hernan Guevara respectively, have
been arrested and charged with graft over equipment sales in a
tribunal in the eastern oil-producing state of Anzoategui,
according a statement from the public prosecutor's office.
Further information was not immediately available.
Caracas-based Petroleos de Venezuela SA and
Castillo Max did not immediately respond to a request for
comment. It was not immediately possible to contact Guevara
Training, which is not registered in Venezuela's register of
government contractors and does not appear to have a website.
PDVSA has said repeatedly that it was taking steps to combat
corruption, which has affected Venezuela and its oil industry
Opposition parties have long maintained that PDVSA has been
crippled by financial malfeasance under the current socialist
government. They have also said that corruption during a major
oil boom has worsened the brutal economic recession in
A congressional probe in October said $11 billion had gone
missing from PDVSA.
Union leaders said they had denounced Castillo Max to PDVSA
bosses for at least three years due to poor maintenance of
loading arms at Jose.
"We had said that Castillo Max should be investigated
because it is responsible for the destruction of this terminal
due to maintenance ... that wasn't being done," said Eudis
Girot, a PDVSA union leader in Anzoategui, on Monday.
"We want these investigations to deepen," Girot told
Three separate industry sources, who requested anonymity
because they had not been authorized to speak about the matter
to the media, said Castillo Max was relatively unknown before it
emerged as a major PDVSA contractor a few years ago.
(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Tom Brown)