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."
I am not a lawyer, and I don't claim to be an expert on legal matters. However I find surprising how Judge Oetken's decision has been reported in Venezuelan media. Those following the case in Venezuela must be thinking that Derwick Associates actually won the case, when what I think happened is quite the contrary.
Derwick Associates' strategy all along has been to have the whole thing dismissed, precisely to avoid discovery. Why? Because discovery can shed light on tonnes of dirt. Discovery can uncover, for instance, all of Derwick's dealings with JP Morgan prior to Eduardo Travieso's sacking, i.e. money laundering. Similarly, it can reveal exact amount of money wired by Derwick to ProEnergy Services, which will give an inkling on differential between monies charged to the Venezuelan State and monies paid for the actual work, i.e. overprice. It could potentially show transfers to and from other banks into Derwick's, i.e. Davos Financial, Banesco, and crucially from Derwick's to those of corrupt Venezuelan officials. Discovery could also reveal exact nature of contracts with ProEnergy Services, and its subsidiaries, and other American companies that have been contracted by Derwick.
Discovery allows for depositions, and also opens up the possibility to present questions, ask for documents, etc. What's Derwick going to do when asked to provide contracts with Venezuelan institutions, that according to some illegal arrangement it can not do so due to equally illegal "confidentiality clauses"?
And bear something in mind: all of this will be reported by non-embedded media, like the Wall Street Journal, which recently revealed what I have been saying all along: that US Federal Agencies are on Derwick's case. Whatever El Nacional and others publish in Venezuela, for internal consumption, is utterly irrelevant. For this lawsuit is not being dealt with by Luisa Ortega Diaz, but by truly independent courts that won't bend to telephone calls from above.
More ominous still, Judge Oetken allows the case to proceed while Derwick is under investigation by Federal and New York State authorities (so there is jurisdiction). This is far from over for Derwick...