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Ex PDVSA Manager Found Dead After Testifying In Spanish Court

Juan Carlos Márquez, 48, a former executive at PDVSA, was found hanged in a flat in Madrid on Sunday, days after he was arrested and appeared in court over his alleged role in money-laundering and corruption involving Venezuela’s state oil firm, Spanish police say.

The police are investigating the death of Márquez, who served as an executive at PDVSA for a decade between 2003 and 2014. Márquez was arrested by Spanish police on Thursday while he was getting off a flight from the U.S., the BBC reports.

The ex PDVSA manager appeared in court on Friday and was due to return to court on Monday over his alleged involvement in a money-laundering scheme of the former Spanish ambassador to Venezuela, Raúl Morodo.

Morodo’s son Alejo allegedly helped two law firms sign “fictitious” contracts with PDVSA worth millions of euros for providing legal counsel to the Venezuelan state oil firm. According to the Spanish investigation, those two law firms never provided any counsel, while Alejo Morodo has allegedly channeled some of the sums charged to PDVSA to his father’s accounts. The Morodos deny the allegations.

The ex PDVSA executive Márquez denied the allegations that he was involved in money laundering and is said to have agreed to collaborate with the Spanish prosecution on the case.

While at PDVSA, Márquez has kept a low profile, and had close ties to PDVSA’s president until 2014, Rafael Ramirez, the BBC notes.

Last month, Ramirez told Al Arabiya English that Venezuela needs a broad national movement that would include the military and the opposition to bring down Nicolas Maduro peacefully and restore the crippled oil industry.

Ramirez ran PDVSA for ten years between 2004 and 2014. In May last year, Ramirez—who now lives in exile—told Bloomberg that PDVSA was on the cusp of total collapse and expected oil production to drop by 600,000 bpd each year amid lack of investment.

According to OPEC’s latest production figures from secondary sources, Venezuela pumped just over 700,000 bpd of crude oil in June.   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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