SCI Bucefalus and Guillermo Pardo involved in construction of 46-rooms hotel in St. Barts (source p. 4).
Alek Boyd's blog
The email came from a fellow journalist at Colombia's W Radio, asking for information about Trenaco and/or Alex Saab. The issue at hand was a contract, believed to exceed $7 billion USD, that Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) granted to Trenaco through subsidiary PetroMiranda. Readers of this site may remember my previous investigations into multimillion dollar fraud involving Saab and his Fondo Global de Construcción companies in Venezuela, Ecuador, Malta, Spain and so on.
South of the Rio Grande, only Venezuela can claim to have reached Olympian heights in the corruption leagues. Venezuela is where grand theft has become institutionalized, and more importantly, perhaps the only country in the region -apart from the Cuban dictatorship- where stealing billions of dollars has no consequences. None.
[Scroll down for updates] To be perfectly honest folks, I didn't see this one coming, consequence I think, of having shed many years ago the paranoia that almost every Venezuelan carries like a second skin. I thought I was safe in Central London. Until Monday morning, when some thugs most probably sent by chavismo and/or its boligarch associates broke into my flat and stole my laptops. They didn't take my wallet, money, valuables...
There are many things we still don't know about Derwick Associates, but there's one we do know: Alejandro Betancourt (left), Pedro Trebbau and Jeff Canon (right) swindled -at the very least- $70 million USD from the Venezuelan State.
Lazard, an old investment bank from France that operates around the world, has been retained by PDVSA to sell CITGO. Lazard describes itself as "the world's leading independent financial advisory and asset management firm." A document leaked to this website provides the best-to-date insight into Lazard's relation with PDVSA on the specifics of CITGO:
The Wall Street Journal's Caracas' man, Ezequiel Minaya, posted an article a couple of days ago entitled "Venezuela's Press Crackdown Stokes Growth of Online Media", in which he lays out some of the problems the Venezuelan press is experiencing.
"... money is the name of the game here..." said Peter Fritsch during a panel discussion at the Wilson Center on how to (cue in drum roll) disrupt money laundering.
"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.
Money. That was the first game that Miguel Angel Capriles Lopez asked his father for, when he was gifted his first electronic gadget. Miguel Angel Capriles Lopez (aka Michu) is, quite possibly, the most powerful Venezuelan you never heard of.
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."
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".