Venezuela investigates possible corruption at state metals conglomerate

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's attorney general said on Friday he was investigating alleged acts of corruption in state-owned metals conglomerate Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (CVG).

"The Public Ministry ratifies its commitment to the relentless fight against corruption," Attorney General Tarek William Saab wrote on Twitter.

Three prosecutors have been appointed to the case, Saab said.

Five officials of the steel and aluminum corporation, including its president, Pedro Maldonado, have been detained by anti-corruption agents, according to the government-linked newspaper Ultimas Noticias.

Prosecutors were already investigating corruption allegations at state oil company PDVSA and a government entity that oversees cryptocurrency transactions, which were led by Tareck El Aissami, one of the government's most powerful men who resigned as oil minister two weeks ago.

He is set to be replaced by the head of PDVSA, Pedro Tellechea.

Saab said two officials from the production department of the Orinoco belt, Jackeline Perico and Jose Lima, have also been arrested on corruption charges at PDVSA.

Some 21 people including officials, businessmen and a deputy have already been arrested and charged for investigations related to the losses suffered by the oil company when tankers left the country with shipments that had not been fully paid for, authorities said.

Venezuela's ruling party-controlled National Assembly later voted to approve a first reading of a law to confiscate the assets from the corrupt. The law requires a second reading before it is passed.

"This stolen money is the people's money that must be administered by the state," Diosdado Cabello, the ruling party's second-in-command said during a special session of parliament.

(Reporting by Mayela Armas and Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Valentine Hilaire, Angus MacSwan and Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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