Venezuela Arrests Opposition Lawyer, Partner of Source in Iraq Passport Controversy: Reports
A lawyer for one of Venezuela’s most prominent right-wing politicians was detained Tuesday in Caracas, after allegedly being found with materials used in counterfeiting, according to unconfirmed reports.
The lawyer, Ana Teresa Argotti, was allegedly taken into police custody after a routine traffic stop. From her vehicle, police reportedly uncovered 17 identity cards, six passports, more than 30 official government stamps and raw materials used in the counterfeiting. The story was originally published by online news blog La Tabla. Along with the statement of an anonymous source, the blog also published photos that appeared to show Argotti in police custody. In one of the photos, Argotti appeared to be shown with her seized property, including the six passports, ID cards and both US and Venezuelan currency.
Argotti is reportedly the lawyer of Lilian Tintori. Tintori is the wife of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader sentenced to over 13 years imprisonment for his role in leading violent anti-government protests in 2014.
The blog also claimed Argotti is the partner of former Venezuelan diplomatic staffer Misael Lopez. Lopez has accused Venezuelan diplomatic officials in Iraq of fraudulently selling hundreds of passports. The Venezuelan government has denied the claims and accused Lopez of acting as an agent of the US.
Venezuelanalysis cannot confirm the authenticity of the La Tabla report, though similar stories have been picked up by state media outlet teleSUR and Russia’s RT – both seemingly based on La Tabla’s piece.
Right-wing newspaper El Nacional has also reported on the story, including allegations police falsified evidence against Argotti.
“A source close to El Nacional Online confirmed that Argotti, adviser to Lilian Tintori, is under arrest,” the newspaper reported.
“However, they clarified that the items seized from the lawyer were ‘planted’,” El Nacional reported.
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