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Venezuelan Corruption: Alejandro Andrade Sentenced To 10 Years

So it came to pass: Alejandro Andrade, aka "teniente chapita", got sentenced to 10 years. We hoped for more, considering Andrade admitted to have accepted $1 billion in bribes, that is, he alone got more bribes than what Odebrecht paid across the globe. 10 years that after "collaboration", good behaviour, etc., will come down to a couple, maybe three or four... White collar crime does pay. Big time. If I were to steal a six pack from the corner shop I may serve a longer sentence, but Andrade's tenure as head of Venezuela's Treasury that caused losses into the tens of billions gets away, just like the financiers that caused the global economic meltdown in 2008, very lightly indeed.

Venezuela continues to suffer the consequences of monumental corruption. Sources report to this site that the situation is so utterly anarchic, that indicted officials and their associates, like fugitive Francisco Convit or Raul Gorrin, instead of hiding are still pretty much in regular contact with the highest officials, seeking to reset / rewrite history, and get away with their criminality. The issue is that, at certain level, every crook knows too much about the others, and so an Omertá fraternity forms. Gorrin, recently indicted, pays for Maikel Moreno's private flights across the world. What are the chances of the judiciary ever coming after Gorrin?

A good case study is Nervis Villalobos and Javier Alvarado, both wanted in connection to a criminal probe by DoJ and both declared fugitives. Both accused for corruption in Venezuela in April 2015, both acquitted by Maikel Moreno, personally, in February 2017. That happened after a good chunk of change -likely coordinated by Gorrin- exchanged hands. Very difficult for international criminal probes to progress, when the jurisdition that suffer the losses and where the crimes were committed does not investigate / charge these individuals.

PDVSA US Litigation Trust is another exhibit. On the one hand PDVSA claims, through Swiss and American lawyers, that billions were lost to fraudulent practices. The acting Attorney General even "approved" formation of trust, so claims could be presented in other jurisdictions. However the same acting AG has not lanched a probe in Venezuela against defendants. As a matter of fact, PDVSA, the aggravated party, continues looking for ways to carry on doing business with defendants, as shown in Trafigura's $700 million prepayment facility to PDVSA.

Andrade's meant to be giving intel on one of the crown jewels: the Chavez clan (Asdrubal, Adan, Maria Gabriela, Huguito, etc.). It remains to be seen whether that turns into more indictments, given that Andrade left office and Venezuela quite a long time ago.

Venezuela's corrupt classes don't seem to be particularly bothered by probing prosecutors stateside. A deal can always be cut, and all goes away. As Andrade's show-jumping son defiantly claimed: that's what they are, corrupt and proud of it. The desolation caused does not even cross their minds.

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