Formula One driver Pastor Maldonado denied any involvement in a currency exchange scandal that has implicated motorsports athletes from his native Venezuela.
Speaking ahead of the Indian Grand Prix on Friday, Maldonado said he supports his government’s investigations and is “really looking forward to getting some news on this.”
Because Venezuela’s bolivar currency does not trade on global markets, Venezuelan individuals depend upon a state agency to obtain dollars and other freely traded currencies.
Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez last week said that some motorsports racers have obtained hard currency for “activities that were either fictitious or overpriced.”
“I’m not involved in that,” Maldonado said. “I have only one contract with my team.”
The sports currency scandal is only the latest involving Venezuela’s currency regime. One involves buying up airline tickets for travel abroad, which lets Venezuelans withdraw $3,000 a year at the official rate.
Dollars have become so scarce in the oil-rich nation plagued by economic woes, including one of the world’s highest inflation rates, that they fetch on the black market more than seven times the official exchange rate.
“I’ve read the same news as everybody, so I’m not fully involved in it,” Maldonado said. “If it’s true, it’s very sad for sports, because it’s not only motorsports, it’s other sports as well.”
He said the investigation into fraud was important for the development of motorsports in Venezuela.
“We need to support the investigation,” Maldonado said. “We need to support the government, especially because they’ve been very gentle with the young generation, trying to help us to achieve a high level of sport in Venezuela.”