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Venezuela’s embarrassment of riches — oil

August 17, 2011

Today’s special report, “Pension fund scandal shakes up Venezuelan oil giant,” examines state oil company PDVSA and the problems it has exploiting what are said by OPEC to be the world’s largest known reserves of crude oil.

At the heart of the latest scandal is a Connecticut hedge fund manager named Francisco Illarramendi who has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud, securities and investment advisor fraud. Prosecutors say he ran a Ponzi scheme that lost up to half a billion dollars, most of it money that had been entrusted to Illarramendi by PDVSA’s pension fund.

Check out this interactive graphic which shows how Venezuela has taken the top spot in terms of world oil reserves.

This one shows how despite rising estimates of the country’s reserves, PDVSA’s production has actually declined in the decade since Chavez came to power.

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