October 21, 2013

Six Racers held in widening Venezuelan Scandal

No names have been released but news is that six prominent Venezuelan auto and motorcycle racers are being held or sought as a "precautionary measure"on suspicion of defrauding the state.

EJ Viso in the hospital
The scandal came to light when the minister for sport, Alejandra Benitez discovered forged signatures on funding requests and went public.     Today Interior and Justice minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said the racers falsified requests and inflated costs for at least US $60 Million.

One of the persons of interest is, according to Rodriguez Torres, missing in the United States.    Andretti Autosport driver E.J. Viso was missing from the Indycar season finale because of a sudden attack of the "stomach flu" and even tweeted a picture of himself looking, one must say, not too ill on a hospital bed... but that may be just a coincidence.

The Venezuelan Minister goes on to put some of the blame on the country's "gigantic" enemy, the United States,  hellbent on bringing government down.

Whether you buy that conspiracy or not, US based teams did seem to have a special price menu for Venezuelan drivers, at least as suggested by requests approved by the former minister of sport, Hector Rodriguez and documented on his twitter account:
$ 936,277.76 for GrandAm practice for Gaetano Ardegna Perez?  $678,000.00 for Alex Popow for NASCAR Nationwide practice?

I'm guessing it did not all go to tires and crew sandwiches.

UPDATE: one driver was named among those held or sought in this investigation, Paolo Andreasi who has raced in Europe in the Blancpain Endurance series with Kessel Racing (top photo: Kessel Racing.com)


  1. Any updates? I'm strangely fascinated (probably because I've no budget to race) by the story and no-one else seems to be covering it - even where others are covering Maldonado moving teams with his backing in tact.

  2. Maldonado isn't involved in this as his sponsorship money is government approved via PDVSA. It's lower level guys like Viso (would be a delight to be rid of him and his wrecking ways from Indycar), Popow and (allegedly) Milka Duno who are involved. Wonder how this will affect Enzo Potallichio's huge 8-Star sportscar empire in the WEC and US racing...


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