By Alex Vasquez/ bloomberg.com
Venezuela’s opposition political parties promised to investigate their own lawmakers after they were accused of lobbying in favor of a Colombian businessman linked to an ally of President Nicolas Maduro who has been indicted by U.S. authorities for money laundering.
Opposition lawmakers wrote letters to Colombian and U.S. authorities to deny that the businessmen was an employee of Alex Saab, a Colombian who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department and indicted in Miami on money-laundering charges in July, according to an investigation by local site Armando Info.
The allegations are a blow to the opposition movement led by National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who has failed to establish a transition government after he was recognized by dozens of countries as Venezuela’s legitimate leader early this year.
“We will not allow anyone’s corruption to damage what has been so hard to build,” Guaido said on Twitter. Later, he told reporters that the lawmakers accused in the Armando Info report would be suspended from their duties and investigated. “We’ll start an independent and exhaustive investigation of the facts,” he said Sunday.
Opposition parties said in letters published Sunday that a half-dozen lawmakers would be removed from committee posts, pending an investigation. Saab has been accused of helping the Maduro regime siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from a food distribution network that is supposed to serve starving people.