Finally, a major publication like the Wall Street Journal picked up on the gargantuan corruption racket that Derwick Associates has been involved in in Venezuela. In "Venezuelan Energy Company Investigated in U.S.
Derwick Associates Is Probed by U.S., New York Agencies for Possible Bribery, Banking Violations", the WSJ goes to town on some of the issues readers of this blog have been aware of for quite some time:
Insistent rumours had been making the rounds for some time about the alleged sale of El Universal, Venezuela's oldest and last standing independent newspaper. The sale, for an alleged €90 million, was confirmed this week. The new director is meant to be Jesús Abreu Anselmi, an obscure individual with a rather interesting past link to Gustavo Gomez Lopez's Banco Latino and, more recently, to turncoat -and former Gomez Lopez partner- Gustavo Cisneros.
It was only a matter of time, really. For those that haven't been following the latest chavista announcement about a "plot to kill" Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, here's a video of the proceedings (there are many more):
Perhaps the best sign that things aren't going well in Venezuela is the sudden decision of powerful Boligarchs to flee the one place to which they owe their riches. In the last few months, we have learned about Juan Carlos Escotet's one billion-Euro bid and subsequent acquisition of Novagalicia in Spain.
Brazilians are meant to be incensed with Dilma Roussef for what they perceive as squandering public money and corruption in contracting construction companies for infrastructure projects related to the coming World Cup. The big winners are privately-held companies, among which Odebrecht, the one that has benefited the most according to Bloomberg. While I can't tell whether Odebrecht won those contracts from Roussef's government in open and legitimate bidding processes, as it should have, it is worth shedding some light on Odebrecht's operations in Venezuela.
An anonymous reader has sent the letter below. My reply will follow*.
Dear Alek Boyd,
I hope you will agree to publish this letter on your site without alteration.
Venezuela's Union of Press Workers reported a week ago that Rona Rísquez, Raquel Seijas, Luis Martínez and Eliberth Edardo, former coordinators in El Nacional's press room, were unfairly dismissed last week. El Nacional's management tried to force another 40 workers to resign. Little has been made about this. Aside from Union of Press Workers' rather brief release, timidly replicated, and some reactions on Twitter, no international media seems to have picked up on this new development.
Another exhibit of the typical improvisation characteristic of chavismo, Venezuela was treated yesterday to a show, attended by the top officials of the country, to 'inform about a plan', purportedly hatched via email between 5 people, to 'assassinate' President Nicolas Maduro.
RaFa the hacker sent me a concerned email. He tells me he's a Buddhist now. Is he a Buddhist hacker? Or a hacker who happens to be a Buddhist? Well, let's hear from him:
Back in late 2012, when I wrote my first post about Derwick Associates and got interested in their activities, I remember having done a WHOIS search on their domain name derwickassociates.com. The site appeared to have have been registered by Derwick Associates de Venezuela, using 17121 Collins Avenue, Apt.
Last week I posted about latest filings in Otto Reich's RICO lawsuit against Derwick Associates. It presents quite an unexpected and interesting twist to the corruption saga: one of the defendants, Francisco D'Agostino, allegedly offered information on the other two defendants (Alejandro Betancourt and Pedro Trebbau) to Reich in "exchange for his dismissal" from the lawsuit. No honour among thieves, right?
The other day we found out -thanks Roberta- that representatives of the umbrella group opposing chavismo in Venezuela had been asking the U.S. State Department to NOT impose sanctions on individuals responsible for atrocious human rights violations. Roberta's faux pas was, in my opinion and contrary to conventional wisdom, a calculated move. It was a clear message from the State Department intended to expose turncoat Venezuelan politicos that love to pretend one thing in public, and then get in bed with utterly corrupt cronies of chavismo.
Lawyers for Otto Reich in the RICO lawsuit against Derwick Associates (Alejandro Betancourt, Pedro Trebbau and Francisco D'Agostino) claim in latest filing (page 7 below) that D'Agostino (in turn son in law of Bolivarian banker Víctor Vargas of Banco Occidental de Descuento fame) "in exchange for his dismissal from this lawsuit, offered to provide information to Ambassador Reich that would be damning to Betancourt and Trebbau."
I want to thank you.
For many years, we have been blighted by an unrepresentative, unelected leadership that does not speak for us. Our nation has been condemned to unnecessary hardship by a regime that has surrendered our sovereignty to a failed communist dictatorship, and an opposition leadership more interested in safeguarding whatever little crumbs they can get.
Reports from the Daily Mail about Tony Caplin (aka Anthony Caplin), the bankrupt crony of UK's Prime Minister David Cameron's father who was put in charge of a £60-billion-budget quango, raised a few alarms in London. The man himself was immediately sacked from his role in charge of the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB), described by the Daily Mail as a "Treasury body responsible for £60 billion worth of loans for infrastructure projects including homes, schools, hospitals, rail and roads".
Marathon runners hit the wall. Writers block. But how could the moral dilemma confronting many investigative bloggers / journalists be defined? The image of the whistleblower, of late, has been appropriated by Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. By revealing information they had been given conditional access to, both individuals broke the law. Now, they are living with the consequences. It is a daunting issue. A given person comes across confidential, secret, potentially explosive information.
This is a shocking piece of news. Alejandro Rebossio reports in El País that Venezuelans have syphoned $405.8 billion away from that country. Capital flight in Brazil, a country of 198 million people with a GDP of 2.253 trillion is estimated at $519.5 billion.
An email from someone alleging to represent a construction company from Iraq made its way into my inbox recently:
Hello & Salam Elicum, I was referred to you from our Business Representative Manager in Venezuela.
I’m the South America Regional Director of Al-Bilal Group, we are a large construction company in the Middle East as you can see on our website.
We were just approached for cooperation for a major construction project by a construction company in Caracas region.
The Mail on Sunday published yesterday an article about Tony Caplin entitled "PM hired bankrupt crony to run £60billion quango: Tycoon put in charge of vast Treasury budget by his Tory friends is sacked after MoS probe." In short, David "we ar
Further to previous exposés about RaFa, the convicted criminal of choice for all online reputation management needs of the Boliburgeoisie chosen by Bundesdruckerei (BDR) as its representative in Venezuela, Der Spiegel piles on the pressure today, with an article questioning Ge
Since Maduro followed through with orders from his Cuban handlers, to send heavily armed thugs and Venezuela's National Guard to kill, torture, terrorise, and arrest people participating protests in Venezuela, a different battle has been raging.
The good folks from Reporters Without Borders published in its We Fight Censorship website a post entitled "Corruption Off Limits on Venezuelan Internet", where censorship of this website in Venezuela is exposed.
Official press release from BANESCO, refuting claims about an alleged $50 million bribe paid by Derwick Associates to President of Venezuelan Congress, Diosdado Cabello, through BANESCO Panama.
I know, I know, today's a Sunday, mothers' day in the UK, but the stuff in Twitter from @jescotet is just too good to ignore. Check out the following tweets:
Diosdado Cabello is the current President of Venezuela's Congress. He has had many important roles in the chavista revolution, and is considered to be one of the three most powerful men in Venezuela. Cabello hails from the military, and participated in the coup led by Hugo Chavez in 1992. Cabello has recently been mentioned in a Florida lawsuit against Derwick Associates, a company that allegedly paid him a $50 million bribe. Wikileaks provides examples of how American authorities perceive Cabello, and so it is relevant to showcase these opinions, to get a measure of the man.
Life seems to be getting more and more difficult for Derwick Associates. A Venezuelan news site reported two days ago that Thor Halvorssen (with whom I worked in The Human Rights Foundation back in 2008-2009) has filed a lawsuit in Miami against Derwick Associates, and its executives Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, Pedro Trebbau Lopez and Francisco D'Agostino.
Descifrado.com reports that Thor Halvorssen (my former boss at The Human Rights Foundation) has sued Derwick Associates (Alejandro Betancourt, Pedro Trebbau, Francisco D'Agostino and 25 others) in the 11th Circuit of Miami-Dade, Florida. Allegedly, high figures from chavismo could be involved in corruption. Derwick Associates has another pending lawsuit, in New York, filed by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Otto Reich.