CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Venezuela has denied political asylum to a former Peruvian official who took refuge in Venezuela's embassy in Lima three days ago, authorities said Wednesday.

Guido Pennano, who served as Peru's Industry Minister from 1990 to 1995, claimed he was being persecuted because he had criticized officials in the administration of President Alberto Fujimori.

Pennano is under investigation for tax fraud for the equivalent of $400,000 in connection with two agriculture companies he ran after leaving the government.

Venezuela determined that Pennano is not a victim of political persecution and that Peru's courts should decide the tax fraud issue, said Venezuela's Information Minister Fernando Egana.

Egana said he did not know when Pennano would leave Venezuela's embassy.