Published On: Thu, Aug 24th, 2017

Venezuela police broadcast raid on rebel prosecutor Luisa Ortega’s home, claiming luxury labels and art are proof of corruption

Luisa-Ortega1CARACAS - Venezuelan authorities have raided the home of Luisa Ortega Diaz, the attorney general ousted after speaking out against the government, claiming to have found evidence of a lavish lifestyle financed by corruption.

Images broadcast on Venezuelan state television on Wednesday showed designer clothes, expensive wines and artworks by Andy Warhol and the Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero.

The report claimed that the luxuries were "acquired thanks to the corruption of the former Attorney General".

Police showed the cameras clothes by Cartier, Prada, Chanel, Carolina Herrera, and Hugo Boss, as well as a portrait of Marilyn Monroe with a signature reading "Andy Warhol". They also displayed a bottle of wine in a box engraved with the name "Luisa Ortega Diaz".

Critics claimed the broadcast of the raid was designed to discredit Ms. Ortega Diaz after she fled to Colombia last week along with her husband, whose arrest has been ordered by the Venezuelan Supreme Court.

Political foes of the government are frequently targeted with corruption investigations.

El Nacional, an opposition-aligned newspaper, said the raid had in fact taken place several days ago, questioning why it was being broadcast now.

Social media sites were littered with accusations of government hypocrisy. "And if we check the house of Diosdado (Cabello)?" one user wrote, referring to Mr. Maduro's powerful second-in-command.

 The broadcast came just hours after Ms. Ortega Diaz, attending a summit of the regional trade bloc Mercosur in Brazil, said she would present evidence of large-scale corruption on the part of top government officials.

She said she had proof that the president, Mr. Cabello and other senior Chavistas were involved in the Latin America-wide scandal involving the construction firm Odebrecht, and claimed that a Mexican firm contracted to provide government food parcels was owned by Mr. Maduro himself.

Ms. Ortega Diaz accused the government of persecuting her husband with corruption claims that she said had no basis in reality, and claimed that the Chavista loyalist appointed as her replacement had six corruption investigations open against him.

"In Venezuela, there are no guarantees that any investigation related to organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking ends in conviction because the most probable is that the evidence ... gets disappeared because there are many interests in corruption not being investigated," she said.

The Venezuelan government hit back at the claims, accusing of her "grave moral and ethical infractions".

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