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Source: Pedro Binaggia helped launder 1.5bn through EFG

A source has informed this site that Pedro Binaggia, banker to fugitive Francisco Convit in a $1.2 billion money laundering scheme centered at PDVSA, was instrumental -in bringing to Switzerland's bank EFG International- as much as $1.5 billion as part of a previous money laundering exercise, involving PDVSA, Rafael Ramirez, Juan Andres Wallis, Danilo Diazgranados, Nervis Villalobos, and Luis Oberto. In a Factual Profer related to Convit's case, unsealed last week, the U.S. Department of Justice hinted at Binaggia's and EFG's involvement with Oberto's money laundering scheme at PDVSA.

EFG would have made $15 million on the deal, though its compliance department allegedly adviced against continuing dealing with impossible-to-justify / explain funds, coming from PDVSA into Luis Oberto's accounts. Compliance documents filed with EFG relate to business relations between Victor Aular Blanco -on PDVSA's behalf- and Luis and Ignacio Oberto. The Obertos claimed to EFG compliance that they had $5 billion worth of deals in the pipeline with PDVSA. When EFG dropped the Obertos, Compagnie Bancaire Helvetique (CBH) stepped in.

Charles Henry de Beaumont, banker with CBH, communicated to CBH compliance department that Danilo Diazgranados (ultimate beneficiary behind Juan Andres Wallis) had a net worth of $1.2 billion. De Beaumont did this, according to the source, to shut down any further enquiries by CBH about Diazgranados, who was -together with the Obertos- one of the main participants. CBH would have processed an amount of transfers from PDVSA even larger than that of EFG, and "commissions" from the deal were paid to Charles Henry de Beaumont, Joseph Benhamou (CEO of CBH) and Danilo Diazgranados.

A shell called Administradora Atlantic was used to structure the deal initially, whereby 17.49 billion Bolivares would be lent to PDVSA, which would return just over $4 billion USD to Atlantic (rate $1 = 4.3BsF). The original contract was signed between Victor Aular Blanco and Juan Andres Wallis. Said contract, according to the source, contained a clause that allowed Atlantic to cede contractual rights to whatever entity, without needing PDVSA's permission. This in fact happened, as Alantic gave all rights to Welka Holding Limited, a Saint Vincent & Grenadines shell, and to Violet Advisors, a Panamanian one. Both Welka and Violet were under Luis and Ignacio Oberto's control.

A request for comment re Pedro Binaggia's involvement was put to EFG, whose reply was: "Thank you for contacting us. It’s a decline to comment from EFG."

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