et tu Neil Karr? A new associate emerges in the Derwick saga

    English

    "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.

    First a bit of background. When Derwick Associates sued Banco Venezolano de Credito in Florida in 2012, it claimed in its defamation lawsuit, as fact, that Derwick was co-founded "in or about June 2007" (p.7). Indeed, in 2007 there was a Derwick Associates: a Panamanian company registered in 2003. It appears that the company was just an empty shell that Alejandro Betancourt and Pedro Trebbau acquired off the shelf. Nothing wrong there. More recently, two lawsuits have been brought against Derwick: one in New York, by Otto Reich, and another one in Florida, by Thor Halvorssen. In addition, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that Derwick Associates was the subject of an investigation by Federal and New York City prosecutors (Kaufmann's former colleagues).

    In 2009, as an emergency was declared in Venezuela, Derwick got -without bidding- 12 contracts in the space of 14 months. Since, numerous requests have been put to Derwick with the intention of knowing exactly how much Venezuelan public money was awarded in contracts. Aside from one Letter of Intent leaked to this site, no information has been published about Derwick's contracts. Derwick has refused to open up to scrutiny, alleging contractual confidentiality clauses.

    Derwick maintains that it is a Venezuelan concern, and therefore U.S. probes have no jurisdiction over its activities. Such claims stand at odds with details found in Letter of Intent, wherein Derwick is described as a Panamanian company represented by Alejandro Betancourt, further identified as an Italian national, while another infodioleak shows now that Derwick Associates was operating in the U.S.A. in 2008, that is, nearly a full year before signing that Letter of Intent with a PDVSA subsidiary. Interestingly, the only Derwick Associates that existed in 2008 was the Panamanian one. So why would a Neil Karr be receiving on behalf of Derwick Associates and in a Florida address, offers of turbines from ProEnergy Services? Who is this Neil Karr?

    The first result in a Google search is Karr's LinkedIn profile. In 2008 Karr was "Director of IntiPower". IntiPower was a Florida corporation, registered in 2006 and dissolved in 2013. It has a dodgy website. But importantly, IntiPower's registered address was changed in Jan. 2008 to 157 Hampton Point Drive, Suite 4, St. Augustine, Florida 32092. That's the very same address used by Joaquin Mavares, ProEnergy Services International Sales guy, in his offer to Derwick Associates' Neil Karr (see pdf below).

    These days, Neil Karr is VP of Sancus Energy and Power, a Texas corporation. Karr's colleagues in Sancus are Rolando Pestana, head of IntiPower till its dissolution, and one Joe Bradford. Searches for Joe Bradford return rather interesting results. Aside from stuff like links to Hollywood actor Kevin Costner, Bradford claims to have been Director of GESCA Gas de Venezuela, whose contact person was Maite Candina, probably Derwick's Iker Candina's daughter. Back in Derwick's lawsuit against Banco Venezolano de Credito, Betancourt claimed (p.7) that he was "Director for BGB/GESCA, a Venezuela-based affiliate of Japan-based Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd." In the same paragraph Betancourt also claimed to have been "external consultant for Gazprom and Gazprombank for their operations in their Andean Region." Our research concluded that Betancourt claims related to BGB/GESCA were baseless exaggerations, and he was never involved with Gazprom. However Bradford was. Could it be that Betancourt is using Bradford's professional background as his?

    But wonders don't stop there. The metadata of ProEnergy Services offer to Neil Karr, after all I could have gotten a doctored document, identifies Joaquin Mavares as author. In private communications and proposals, since at least December 2008, Derwick has used IntiPower's, Bradford's and ProEnergy's credentials and track record in its attempts to generate new deals. Karr, Pestana, Mavares, Bradford, Candina, IntiPower, Sancus, ProEnergy (all associates of Derwick at some point or another) are U.S.-based persons / corporations. All of them. Derwick has even claimed to have built the Harry D. Mattison Power Plant in Arkansas. How can it possibly claim lack of jurisdiction then? Or transparency? I guess the recent ruling by Judge Oetken allowing for jurisdictional discovery is going to unveil quite a lot about this "transparent" company, and I am sure Adam Kaufmann, with his many years of experience successfully prosecuting Derwick-type white collar thugs, will prepare totally plausible explanations.

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