Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez is a Venezuelan businessman who is Chairman and CEO of an engineering, procurement, and construction company. He was also the former chief executive officer (CEO) of PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. He was arrested in Caracas by the Office of the Attorney General on September 6, 2007. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez was subsequently charged with money laundering and corruption on September 14, 2007. On October 21, 2007, he was released on bail on October 21, 2007, pending his trial.
Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez was born in Caracas on December 3, 1980. He has a degree in civil engineering from the Universidad Simón Bolívar and a master’s degree in business administration from the Universidad del Pacífico. He is also a member of the Academy of Engineering and Sciences of Venezuela.
Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez has worked for PDVSA since 2001 and was appointed as the company’s CEO in June 2006 by then-president Hugo Chávez Frías after the death of his predecessor, Rafael Ramírez Sánchez. Betancourt was one of several high-ranking officials appointed by Chávez to oversee PDVSA after he assumed power in 1999 as part of an effort to reform PDVSA and make it more efficient. Before serving as CEO, he was an executive vice president at PDVSA for four years, from March 2001 to June 2006. He was also director of PDVSA’s construction and engineering division for six years, from March 2001 to June 2006. He has also worked for the Venezuelan government in various capacities, including as an aide to Chávez and a member of Venezuela’s National Youth Council.
Betancourt is married with two children. His wife is María Del Pilar Aragón Betancourt, a lawyer and a former executive vice president at PDVSA. His daughter, Milagros Alejandrina Betancourt, is a student at the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas. Many of his relatives served in the military under former Venezuelan president Marcos Pérez Jiménez.