With ~1.35 million lawyers, the United States of America has one of the world's largest percentages of lawyers per capita, and it is widely considered to have one of the most litigious societies in the planet. Imagine then my shock, when learning that Adam Kaufmann, former understudy of legendary New York prosecutor Robert Morgenthau, is representing narcoterrorist Cliver Alcala Cordones.
This modern-day Bruce Cutler has been retained by some of the worst thugs Venezuela has produced. In 2014, Kaufmann flew to Caracas with Peter Fritsch to bully / threaten Wall Street Journal's journalists working on a Derwick Associates story. But even before that, in early 2012, Kaufmann took on representation of Moris Beracha, the thug that assisted PDVSA and Francisco Illarramendi in disappearing $500 million worth of workers' pension funds.
Kaufmann's little firm also took on Banca Privada d'Andorra (BPA), another target of America's Treasury Department which declared it a "money laundering concern". BPA was for a while the bank of choice of a considerable number of Venezuelan criminals, including Kaufmann's very own clients.
Kaufmann wasn't always like this. Some years ago, in an interview for Folha de Sao Paulo, he said:
"O meu departamento conseguiu a condenação de Dennis Kozlowski e Mark Swartz, presidente e diretor financeiro da Tyco, a 25 anos de prisão por eles terem roubado milhões de dólares da companhia. É o reconhecimento de que um homem de negócios corrupto pode prejudicar a vida das pessoas mais do que um simples ladrão. As pessoas que cometem esses crimes têm de ser punidas duramente porque eles têm escolhas, são bem educadas e traíram a confiança que a sociedade depositou nelas." [bold added]
Meaning, Kaufmann used to think that businessmen involved in corruption ought to be punished harshly, given consequences of their actions. Evidently, Kaufmann no longer thinks like that. For not only is he totally oblivious of the dire consequences that corruption of his client Alejandro Betancourt, to name one, has caused to millions of Venezuelans. He will now defend in court a man charged with narcoterrorism, drug trafficking, corruption and other crimes.
I sent Kaufmann a question this morning: is anyone paying you, or is this pro bono work? Considering the client, can Kaufmann guarantee that his retainer isn't covered with drug money, or illicit proceeds from corruption?
We don't expect clarification, but rather ponder on just how Kaufmann became Alcala Cordones' lawyer. Kaufmann has defended / represented Beracha and Betancourt et al in the past. Both Beracha and Betancourt are known corrupt players, though their corruption, up until this point, has been limited mostly to financial operations, procurement and energy, i.e. they belong to a criminal gang involved in a different sector of the "chavista economy". Having studied both Beracha and Betancourt, we are yet to find concrete evidence of involvement in drug trafficking activities, which is what DoJ charged Alcala Cordones with.
Kaufmann has a sidekick, Martin Rodil, a former driver in Venezuela's Embassy in DC who reinvented himself -if Bloomberg's propaganda is to be believed- as some kind of fixer. We understand that, through Kaufmann, Rodil has been "providing intel" to different Federal Agencies, which in itself beggars belief.
What no one talks about is how Rodil went from Embassy driver to owning a $1+ million house through a Dutch shell. Even less mentioned is Rodil's business relations with Roger Noriega and their DC address, which happens to coincide with the one used by Laurent Roccia in Danilo Diazgranados' little deal with Anthony Scaramucci.
So how exactly does a member of Cartel de los Soles end up being a client of Kaufmann? Beracha and Betancourt have had / have their fingers in some of Venezuela's largest money laundering schemes. Ditto Beracha's partner Danilo Diazgranados. Could it be that these thugs are involved in laudering Cartel de los Soles money? How did Alcala Cordones establish communications with Kaufmann? Who made intros?
In Betancourt's case, we have evidence of involvement of Venezuelan intelligence in Derwick's affairs. Intelligence has been, historically, the domain of Hugo Carvajal, another Cartel de los Soles narco charged in recent DoJ superseding indictment.
In Beracha / Diazgranados criminal clan, we have the Capriles thugs: Armando, Axel, Miguel Angel (Michu), whose direct connections to narco Tareck el Aisami have been sufficiently documented and exposed. Could that be the link?
Another possible lead is Venezuela's "opposition". Beracha's ex is a trusted advisor of Carlos Vecchio. Juan Guaido is financed by Betancourt, and Alcala Cordones has been helping Guaido in Colombia. It is entirely feasible that thugs aligned with Guaido put Kaufmann and Alcala Cordones together.
It is no secret that Venezuela is a narcostate, as we have been saying since at least 2006. Kaufmann's activities ought to be put under minute scrutiny. If that were to happen, it is almost certain he'll end up like Cutler.