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PDVSA 1.2bn Money Laundering Scheme: Abraham Ortega pleads guilty, more to come...

The U.S. Deparment of Justice announced yesterday that Abraham Ortega, a former PDVSA finance exec, pleaded guilty: "Former Executive Director at Venezuelan State-Owned Oil Company, Petroleos De Venezuela, S.A., Pleads Guilty to Role in Billion-Dollar Money Laundering Conspiracy" A Factual Profer of case (1:18-cr-20685-KMW) was released with the announcement (see below). There's a great of speculation about other parties involved in the case. This site can reveal that the Oberto brothers, Nervis Villalobos, Juan Andres Wallis, Danilo Diazgranados, Charles Henry de Beaumont, Banca Privada D'Andorra, Banco de Madrid, Compagnie Bancaire Helvetique, EFG Bank, Boris Ivanov, Christophe Gerard, Gazprombank, Eulogio del Pino, Renny Bolivar, Baldo Sanso, and former PDVSA CEO Rafael Ramirez are also involved.

The Factual Profer claims a bribe payment scheme was set up between Ortega and conspirators to give "priority status" to "Company A, a European company... a minority shareholder in Joint Venture A", and "Company B, a Russian Financial institution... a minority shareholder in Joint Venture B."

PDVSA is the majority shareholder in joint ventures with the following European companies: Repsol, ENI, Total, Statoil. From PDVSA website:

PDVSA has formed two oil joint ventures with Repsol: Petroquiriquire, S.A., and Petrocarabobo, S.A. Repsol also develops an offshore gas license in Falcón state’s Cardón IV block, shared with Italian company ENI, among other projects.

PDVSA has formed three joint ventures with ENI: Petrojunín, S.A., Petrobicentenario, S.A. and Petrolera Guiria, S.A.

PDVSA, together with state oil companies Total and Statoil, formed joint venture Petrocedeño, S.A.

Alberto Cortina, brother of former Repsol CEO (Alfonso) and the latter's trusted lieutenant (Jose Ramon Blanco Balin, also once with Repsol) are not only partners of Derwick's Alejandro Betancourt, but recently got, from Nicolas Maduro, an oil concession under a JV called Petrosur. Betancourt and Cortina are also partners in a Luxembourg vehicle called BDK Financial Group, while Blanco Balin is referred to by Spanish journalists as Betancourt's PR man. The Cortinas also invested with Betancourt and co-conspirator Orlando Alvarado (grouped under O'Hara shell) in Pacific Energy's Colombian operations. Despite evidence pointing to Repsol, Betancourt claims he has dirt on Italy's ENI.

As revealed here in 2016, Company B is Gazprombank, minority shareholder along with Derwick Oil and Gas (Francisco Convit, Alejandro Betancourt, Pedro Trebbau) in Petrozamora. Gazprombank deals with Derwick and PDVSA triggered sanctions against Gazprombank earlier this year in Switzerland. Gazprombank and its CEO are designated sanctioned parties by OFAC. Gazprombank paid a $904 million "bonus" to PDVSA.

Derwick Associates internal emails show a flow of communications with Gazprombank's Ivanov in the context of negotiations with PDVSA's Rafael Ramirez, Eulogio del Pino, Victor Aular, Alvaro Ledo, Abraham Ortega and Renny Bolivar.

The Factual Profer also reveals that Ortega accepted a $10 million bribe to set up a 17 billion plus Bolivars ($4+ billion) "Loan Scheme with Companies C and D." As revealed here in 2015, a 17.9 billion Bolivars loan scheme was set up by Rafael Ramirez, Victor Aular, Eulogio del Pino, Asdrubal Chavez, Nervis Villalobos, the Oberto Anselmi brothers (Luis and Ignacio), and Juan Andres Wallis (likely acting as Danilo Diazgranados' proxy). Ponzi banker Victor Vargas was involved, as well as Betancourt's partner and Vargas' son in law Francisco D'Agostino. Companies involved were Cartera de Activos Cho La Pass 190654 C.A. (UBO of Atlantic / controlled by Wallis), Violet Advisors and Welka Holding (both controlled by Luis Oberto). Banca Privada D'Andorra was EFG Bank, Julius Baer, Compagnie Bancaire Helvetique and Meinl Bank were the principal banks used to launder proceeds and redirect bribe payments.


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