The U.S. Justice Department unsealed some charges yesterday related to a money laundering and bribery scheme involving some of the usual suspects exposed in this website: "Five Former Venezuelan Government Officials Charged in Money Laundering Scheme Involving Foreign Bribery"
Alek Boyd's blog
Information about Banca Privada D'Andorra (BPA), a "primary money laundering concern" according to U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), continues to be published. The latest shows how BPA Serveis (chaired by Higini Cierco) was instructed by Eudomario Carruyo, Petroleos de Venezuela's VP Finance, to create a Panamanian shell corporation to get bribes.
Evidence has emerged that Derwick Associates paid bribes to Nervis Villalobos through Banca Privada D'Andorra. A "Consulting and Advisory Services Agreement" between Derwick Associates Corp. and INGESPRE (Nervis Villalobos' vehicle) was entered by the parties on 14 January 2010. The contract's recitals imply that Derwick Associates is a foreign concern "which does have an office in Venezuela and wishes to do further business there".
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report, in August 2014, on prosecutors from the Southern District of New York probing Venezuela's rampant corruption.
More on Derwick Oil & Gas. A document leaked to this site shows that Derwick Oil & Gas (the "Creditor"), a Barbados co owned and managed by Alejandro Betancourt and Francisco Convit, committed to give a $35 million loan to Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V. (the "Borrower"), a joint venture between Derwick and GPB Global Resources B.V., in turn a fully owned Gazprom subsidiary.
This post, intended for this site, originally appeared in my blog due to crippling DDoS attack. Do read updates about Rosneft at end of post. It was busy last week. As I was chatting to a source in Caracas last Monday, I noticed that this site was down.
UPDATED - Before getting to Fusion GPS associations to Venezuela, let me just say that that country is, by far, Latin America's most corrupt. Its president, Nicolas Maduro, has the unique distinction of being the "individual who has done the most in the world to advance organized criminal activity and corruption" according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
For the past three/four weeks I’ve noticed a spike in Google searches for corruption-related Venezuelan names and PDVSA. Some of the world’s biggest and best known banks and accounting firms seem all too keen, suddenly, of finding out what’s going in Venezuela. It could well be related to PDVSA’s announcement of a $7 billion bond swap. But it could also be due to some persistent rumours about impending legal cases against PDVSA that could all but obliterate the company’s ability to meet its current international financial obligations, let alone future ones.
PLEASE READ UPDATE ADDED 03/04/2017 BELOW - It has become a custom. Unsupported information leaked to this site ends up being confirmed by official evidence. The latest puts to rest an extraordinary claim: that Derwick Oil & Gas was actually a silent partner of Russia's Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V. in its dealings with Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
Further to Bloomberg's reporting that Swiss authorities are collaborating with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's corruption probe into PDVSA and Derwick Associates, I posted an open letter, enclosed below.
Upon posting the latest bit of research on Luis Oberto’s real estate activities through proxies in St Barths, a request for comment was sent to Bruno Magras, President of St Barths’ Territorial Council (effectively the island’s government). Monsieur le Président did reply, with the following message (bold added):
Petróleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA as it is commonly referred to, is an oil conglomerate fully owned by the Venezuelan State. Despite much propaganda to the contrary, it was created in 1976, by then President Carlos Andres Pérez, as part of a nationalization policy drive that gave Venezuela full control of exploration, production and commercialization of its natural resources.
Read an updated version here. Petróleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA as it is commonly referred to, is an oil conglomerate fully owned by the Venezuelan State. Despite much propaganda to the contrary, it was created in 1976, by then President Carlos Andres Pérez, as part of a nationalization policy drive that gave Venezuela full control of exploration, production and commercialization of its natural resources.
SCI Bucefalus and Guillermo Pardo involved in construction of 46-rooms hotel in St. Barts (source p. 4).
The email came from a fellow journalist at Colombia's W Radio, asking for information about Trenaco and/or Alex Saab. The issue at hand was a contract, believed to exceed $7 billion USD, that Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) granted to Trenaco through subsidiary PetroMiranda. Readers of this site may remember my previous investigations into multimillion dollar fraud involving Saab and his Fondo Global de Construcción companies in Venezuela, Ecuador, Malta, Spain and so on.
South of the Rio Grande, only Venezuela can claim to have reached Olympian heights in the corruption leagues. Venezuela is where grand theft has become institutionalized, and more importantly, perhaps the only country in the region -apart from the Cuban dictatorship- where stealing billions of dollars has no consequences. None.
[Scroll down for updates] To be perfectly honest folks, I didn't see this one coming, consequence I think, of having shed many years ago the paranoia that almost every Venezuelan carries like a second skin. I thought I was safe in Central London. Until Monday morning, when some thugs most probably sent by chavismo and/or its boligarch associates broke into my flat and stole my laptops. They didn't take my wallet, money, valuables...
There are many things we still don't know about Derwick Associates, but there's one we do know: Alejandro Betancourt (left), Pedro Trebbau and Jeff Canon (right) swindled -at the very least- $70 million USD from the Venezuelan State.
Lazard, an old investment bank from France that operates around the world, has been retained by PDVSA to sell CITGO. Lazard describes itself as "the world's leading independent financial advisory and asset management firm." A document leaked to this website provides the best-to-date insight into Lazard's relation with PDVSA on the specifics of CITGO:
The Wall Street Journal's Caracas' man, Ezequiel Minaya, posted an article a couple of days ago entitled "Venezuela's Press Crackdown Stokes Growth of Online Media", in which he lays out some of the problems the Venezuelan press is experiencing.
"... money is the name of the game here..." said Peter Fritsch during a panel discussion at the Wilson Center on how to (cue in drum roll) disrupt money laundering.
"We are a transparent company and have nothing to hide" said Adam Kaufmann, former New York DA's chief investigator, to the Wall Street Journal in relation to probes that his former office and other Federal Agencies have launched against his client Derwick Associates. A transparent company does not need an army of lawyers and spin doctors to obscure every single operational aspect, but perhaps transparency has a different meaning in Derwick's world. In any case, Derwick has been caught lying repeatedly, and it seems that evidence of another lie has just emerged.
Money. That was the first game that Miguel Angel Capriles Lopez asked his father for, when he was gifted his first electronic gadget. Miguel Angel Capriles Lopez (aka Michu) is, quite possibly, the most powerful Venezuelan you never heard of.
A tweet alerted me yesterday to the latest on the Otto Reich lawsuit against Derwick Associates in New York. District Judge Paul Oetken on 18 of August dismissed "Claims I and II (RICO) and VII (civil conspiracy)." And added in his conclusions: "Defendant D’Agostino’s motion for leave to file a sur-reply (Docket No. 57) is granted. The parties shall confer on the appropriate scope and schedule for jurisdictional discovery and submit a joint letter to the Court with a proposed schedule on or before September 12, 2014."