Venezuela’s President Sacks Country’s Head of Crypto Policies, Orders His Arrest

Top government official Joselit Ramirez, tasked with ensuring proper crypto policies are established in Venezuela, was removed from his seat by the country’s President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday and has since been arrested.

According to UtimasNoticias, a Venezuelan media outlet, Ramirez is under investigation for his involvement in a plot to steal from the country’s oil operations.

The official Gazette released on March 17 by the Venezuelan government indicates that Ramirez was not the only staff at SUNACRIP (the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities) to be relieved of his duties as several senior employees of the agency were also fired. However, the reasons for their dismissal are not yet clear.

The Alleged Reason Leading to Ramirez’s Arrest

Meanwhile, UltimasNoticias reveals that Ramirez participated in a scheme that aimed to ensure over $3 billion generated from Venezuelan oil sales did not reach the government accounts. Ramirez is accused of transferring the funds to various personal bank accounts.

Even though President Maduro did not issue an official statement stating reasons for removing Ramirez from office, he appeared to confirm UltimasNoticias’ report when naming a new team to manage SUNACRIP. In a statement, the President said it was his duty to protect citizens from people working against the Venezuelan economy.

President Maduro Announces Ramirez’s Replacement

The President appointed Anabel Pereira Fernandez as the new head of SUNACRIP. Fernandez has worked as the Head of the Superintendence of Institutions of the Banking Sector in Venezuela and as the President of the Social Protection Fund of Bank Deposits.

Joselit Ramirez became the head of SUNACRIP in June 2018, taking over from Carlos Vargas, a Un Nuevo Tiempo party member. Previously, Vargas was tasked with overseeing the development of the country’s cryptocurrency, dubbed “Petro”.

As for Ramirez, he was responsible for the establishment of the National Crypto Assets System to help govern the crypto industry in Venezuela.

Ramirez is also wanted by the US government for his alleged involvement in a smuggling plot organized by top Venezuelan government officials. Recently, the American government offered a $5 million reward for any information that could help arrest him.


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