CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s opposition-controlled but essentially powerless congress has given a group of exiled judges permission to put President Nicolas Maduro on trial for allegedly seeking bribes from Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant at the center of a regional corruption scandal.
Maduro’s trial will only be symbolic, as the jurists who are overseeing the case are not recognized by Venezuela’s law enforcement institutions.
The proceedings against Maduro started earlier this month in Bogota, Colombia, where a group of judges known as Venezuela’s “Supreme Court in Exile” met to review claims that Maduro illegally sought $50 million from Odebrecht for his 2013 presidential campaign.
On Tuesday, Venezuela’s National Assembly voted to proceed with the trial amid cheering and chants of “liberty.”
Officials of Maduro’s government have called the proceedings “silly” and “illegal.”