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Venezuela overhauls national crypto department

Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro has announced the reorganization of the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets, known as Sunacrip in Spanish, according to a decree issued on March 17.

A new board will lead the reorganization, headed by Anabel Pereira Fernández, a lawyer who served as president of the Fondo de Garantía de Depositos y Protección Bancaria (FOGADE), the Venezuelan version of the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). Among the other directors are Héctor Andrés Obregón Pérez, Luis Alberto Pérez González, and Julio César Mora Sánchez.

Without providing any further details or specific reasons for the reorganization, the decree says the board will plan the next steps for the crypto department. Maduro’s administration claims the move is intended to protect the country’s citizens from the negative effects of economic sanctions, among other reasons.

The new board structure leaves out Joselit Ramirez, who led the department since its inception in 2018. Ramirez was reportedly arrested on March 17 on corruption charges, according to Venezuela’s local media. As of writing, Cointelegraph has not been able to confirm the information. Ramirez oversaw crypto tax rules and the country’s cryptocurrency Petro.

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In June 2020, the U.S. added Ramirez to its Most Wanted List. The Homeland Security Investigations branch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency issued a bounty for up to $5 million for any information that would lead to the capture of Petro’s supervisor.

At the time, ​​authorities alleged that Ramirez had “deep political, social and economic ties” to suspected narcotic kingpins, including Tareck El Aissami, former vice President of Venezuela.

Ramirez’s bounty was the smallest among the alleged co-conspirators, with the U.S. government offering $15 million for the capture of the country’s head Nicolás Maduro. Several other high ranking officials, including El Aissami, face $10 million bounties.