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Justice Dept after PDVSA money laundering in Swiss banks

Gotham City reports today that the Department of Justice sent an information request (MLAT) to Swiss counterparts, regarding Comercializadora San Roque S.A., a Panamanian shell controlled by the Urdaneta Aqui clan related to Carmelo Urdaneta Aqui (former Legal Counsel to the Venezuelan Ministry of Oil and Mining), involved in the money laundering scheme set up in PDVSA by Francisco Convit, Alejandro Betancourt, Luis & Ignacio Oberto, Danilo Diazgranados, Victor Aular, and Rafael Ramirez. The request cites a $4.5 billion figure, first reported in this website in November 2015. More information exposing involvement of EFG Bank, Julius Baer, Compagnie Bancaire Helvetique (CBH) and Banco Espirito Santo was reported here in January this year.

The money laundering scheme was the brainchild of the Oberto clan, who had in turn learned the ropes from Raul Gorrin and Gustavo Perdomo. It consisted of a Venezuelan shell lending Bolivares to PDVSA (17,490,000,000) that would then be repaid in USD at the lowest official rate of exchange, into Swiss bank accounts controlled by different shells owned by the Oberto brothers. The Obertos would then sell USD -at parallel black market rates- through their local network of businesses / banks associates.

EFG Bank did about $1.5 billion worth of transactions, while CBH did $2.75 billion. Pablo Custer, Dieter Staeubli, and Pedro Binaggia were involved at EFG Bank. AT CBH, Charles Henry de Beaumont and Joseph Benhamou. Danilo Diazgranados, partner at times of UBO of original shell that "loaned" billions to PDVSA, ended up becoming a shareholder of CBH. As said elsewhere, Matthias Krull indictment is a side dish next to what de Beaumont and Benhamou did.

Francisco Convit and Alejandro Betancourt were instrumental in getting Rafael Ramirez's approval for the deal. The Obertos had the idea, but the Derwick thugs had the access to Ramirez. Just between 21 March and 11 April 2012, accounts controlled by the Obertos got $1 billion worth of PDVSA deposits (from Banco Espirito Santo) of which $100 million were wired immediately to shells owned by Convit and Betancourt. There's an incontrovertible paper trail linking PDVSA's funds, the Obertos and Convit and Betancourt.

Convit remains a fugitive of DoJ, while Betancourt is a soon-to-be indicted co-conspirator. The Oberto brothers are already in the net of Michael Nadler, the Florida prosecutor in charge of this case. So is Charles Henry de Beaumont and others involved.

Rafael Ramirez cannot be too far in this investigation. As in the case of Alejandro Andrade, who admitted to have gotten $1 billion worth of bribes for similar schemes at Venezuela's Treasury, Ramirez was key in greenlighting this deal.

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