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31 Jan, 2019 18:06

Spain agrees to extradite former Venezuelan deputy minister to US

Spain agrees to extradite former Venezuelan deputy minister to US

A Spanish court has agreed to temporarily extradite former Venezuelan deputy energy minister, Nervis Villalobos, to the US to face charges for a bribery scheme involving the country’s state oil company, PDVSA.

National Court Judge Ismael Moreno agreed to a maximum extradition of six months on Thursday, the US had requested a year. Villalobos now has five days to appeal the ruling to the High Court.

Spain agrees to extradite former Venezuelan deputy minister to US

Villalobos, who was deputy minister for energy between 2001 to 2006, was arrested in Spain at the request of US authorities in October 2017. He is accused of accepting payment to obtain contracts with PDVSA, while also being investigated by Spanish authorities for suspected money laundering and bribery.

Also on rt.com EU parliament urges member states to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president

The ruling comes amid the US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela to oust the current head of state, Nicolas Maduro. The US, Canada, the European Parliament and most South American countries have moved to recognise opposition lead Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela.

Since Maduro’s election in 2013 Venezuela has been plagued by a severe economic crisis that led to numerous protests, some of which descended into violent clashes with police. Maduro accused the US of stoking protests against the government, as well as harboring plots to oust or assassinate him.