China has disbursed more than $40 billion in credit to Venezuela via a bilateral investment fund, the president of the Venezuelan Economic and Social Development Bank, or Bandes, said Wednesday.

"This is access (to funding) that broadly surpasses the other options ... that the right would have, to go to the International Monetary Fund," Gustavo Hernandez told state-run VTV television.

He said that under the China-Venezuela Fund, established in 2007 during the administration of late President Hugo Chavez, 226 "infrastructure and growth" projects are being carried out.

Initiatives with "great social impact" such as new metro lines, highways and railways and downstream projects in the oil sector were being financed through the fund, Hernandez said.

In mid-2013, allegations surfaced that some $84 million had been appropriated from the China-Venezuela Fund, a scandal that led to the arrest of five suspects.

The fund finances projects in Venezuela and receives contributions from the China Development Bank and Venezuela's National Development Fund that are administered by Bandes.

China's contributions to the fund are repaid with oil shipments.

China is one of the Venezuelan government's main sources of external financing and a key ally of the South American nation in the political, technological and energy spheres. EFE