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Venezuelan authorities order arrest of business owners for import fraud

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Staff Writer | July 19, 2018
Venezuelan Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab on Wednesday ordered the arrest of eight business owners allegedly involved in the embezzlement of $49 million by using fake import orders.
Tarek William Saab
LatAm   Venezuelan Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab
"The Ordaz Refrigeration and Frisa Foods companies, part of the Garcia Armas Group, embezzled $49 million from the country, through over-invoicing of goods and simulation of imports," said Saab at a press conference.

Authorities in Caracas issued arrest warrants on charges of fraudulently obtaining foreign currency, overvaluation of goods and intention to commit crime.

The government has had tight control of foreign currencies for 15 years. The official exchange rate is 120,000 bolivares per dollar, while on the black market the dollar is exchanged as much as 20 times higher the official rate.

According to the prosecutor general's investigations, Frisa Foods is estimated to have appropriated 42.66 million dollars through overpriced imports, while Ordaz Refrigeration amassed 6.25 million dollars on goods that never reached Venezuela.