Venezuela accuses nine citizens to have used an IT support software, giving access to bank accounts and passwords of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The General Prosecutor of Venezuela reported on June 16 that 8 citizens were arrested, including three employees from the Ministry of Economy and Finance for extorting public money. For the government, they stole money from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Development Fund (Fonden), an obscure government investment plan financed by oil money.
A software allowed the alleged criminals to have access to user accounts and bank passwords. The software, called AnyDesk, was installed on the computers used by the Ministry. The German software provides remote access to computers. As it is useful for IT professionals giving technical support, it can however give full administrative permissions to an external user who could take advantage of the situation.
Plot to extort Venezuela’s public money
According to the Venezuelan Attorney General who held a televised press conference, eight people, including three employees of the Ministry set up a plot to extort public money. The citizens “made bank transfers from accounts of the Ministry and the National Development Fund to accounts of people or moral entities requesting loans“. They then allegedly laundered the money buying US dollars on the black market through various accounts.
Another suspect is yet to be arrested as he lives in Spain. The country will seek assistance for Europol. No amount of money has been disclosed.
Since 2017, several countries, including Colombia, the United States or the European Union members, sanctioned the current Prosecutor General of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, among other officials for undermining democracy during the 2017 Venezuelan protests. He is unable to enter these territories.
- Tarek William Saab Press conference on VTV Canal 8, Twitter, June 2021, Free access