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Former minister urges investigation of newspaper publisher over editorial alleging corruption

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 23 April 2007, former finance minister Tobías Nóbrega asked the Prosecutor General (Fiscalía) to investigate Teodoro Petkoff, the publisher of "Tal Cual" newspaper, over a 12 April editorial that alleged the former minister's involvement in acts of corruption, in complicity with other public officials.

According to the editorial, based on a document written by staff of the Banco Central de Venezuela (Central Bank of Venezuela), Nóbrega represented the current finance minister, Rodrigo Cabezas, in negotiations with a company to print banknotes, in anticipation of the change in national currency slated for 2008.

Nóbrega urged the Prosecutor General to take legal action against the journalist for having "damaged the honour" of the persons and institutions mentioned in the editorial.

On 9 February, "Tal Cual" was ordered by the Court for the Defense of Children and Adolescents (Tribunal de Protección del Niño, Niña y Adolescente) to pay a fine of US$18,000 for having published, in November 2005, a humorous opinion piece that made reference to the daughter of President Hugo Chávez (see IFEX alerts of 16 February 2007 and 18 January 2006).

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