VHeadline/VENews: Tuesday, April 14, 1998 — Venezuelans are more than usually non-stop talking tonight (Tuesday) on breaking news that Carlos Andres Perez has been issued an immediate arrest warrant by Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) based on evidence that he had indeed opened secret joint accounts in foreign banks with his secretary and mistress, Cecilia Matos … former president Perez has been accused of embezzling $250 million of secret Defense Ministry funds.
Carlos Andres Perez (CAP) served as Venezuela’s president in two constitutional periods from 1974 till 1979 and from 1988 till 1993 when he was forced to resign before his term finished on charges of corruption, and was sentenced to house arrest which ended in 1996. At the same time, he was disowned and expelled from the Accion Democratica (AD) political party.
After his release, the 70-year-old politician bounced back into public attention by forming his own political movement called Apertura, which he hoped would propel him as Senator for Tachira State in the upcoming elections.
The scandal broke when Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Burelli Rivas assigned a special prosecutor to Venezuela’s Consulate in New York to collect evidence of the joint accounts.
Despite Cecilia Matos’ efforts to torpedo the findings, a New York judge finally decided to send the evidence of the accounts to Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) and the Attorney General’s Office.
“Stone-face” Perez, as he is commonly nicknamed, has taken the news of his arrest with his usual aplomb, saying he’ll fight back, reminding Venezuelans that it was he who saved democracy from the onslaught of failed coup leader Hugo Chavez Frias, who is now “a flamboyant presidential candidate.”
“It’s an obscure plot to lynch me politically” he commented in a hastily convened press conference at his Las Delicias HQ where coincidently a sound explosive was planted yesterday afternoon and deactivated by security forces.