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."