Venezuela chief prosecutor to indict relatives of ex-minister over Odebrecht bribe scheme; Retired professor killed at protest by National Guard

Venezuela's state prosecutor's office said on Wednesday it would charge two people linked to a former transportation minister for involvement in bribery schemes associated with the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht SA.

Maria Baptista and Elita Zacarias "are linked to the ex-Minister Haiman El Troudi and must appear July 27," the state prosecutor's office said on Twitter, without providing further details. 

El Troudi later said that his relatives, whom local media have reported are his wife and mother-in-law, had nothing to do with the case. 

"To get to me, Mrs. Prosecutor, my immunity is no obstacle and my family shouldn't be the way forward," he tweeted. "As this case is chiefly political, know that I will be the one to present myself to the prosecutor's office, with my conscience clear and my head high." 

Odebrecht, the largest engineering and construction company in Latin America, acknowledged in 2016 that it paid some $98 million dollars in bribes over several years to obtain contracts in Venezuela. 

In other news, a 55-year-old retired professor was killed at a protest in Lara state, center Venezuela. Janeth Angulo’s death was blamed directly on the National Guard, the law-enforcement agency most investigated for killings during demonstrations and other crowd-control excesses.

According to media reports, guards arrived at Angulo’s location in the early hours of Wednesday morning, just after midnight, to break up a demonstration by shooting up a barricade. Angulo was shot in the head, raising the death toll to 95 since protests began in April.

   

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