Internal documents from PDVSA's SAP system seen by this site corroborate that Proton Sociedad Limitada and Schlager Business Group, the subsidiary of Libre Abordo, are used interchangeably by Alex Saab in crude lifting operations in Venezuela. The system also shows Libre Abordo and other shells controlled by Saab are under prepayment terms. It is not the first time PDVSA imposes such terms on its trading operations. In the case of Libre Abordo, however, there are a few anomalies that need further probing.
PDVSA's SAP has no local agent on record for Libre Abordo. Email communications leaked and revealed here, as well as loading programs, show SEMAFERCA and Cygnus Marine as Saab's agents, however SAP references it as "to be named". The food-for-oil agreement established between Libre Abordo and CORPOVEX would see delivery of food stuff (corn) and water trucks exchanged for oil. For the month of January 2020, Libre Abordo had "prepaid" PDVSA $57,669,002.23 for some 2.7 million barrels. CORPOVEX took first delivery of 242 water trucks on 30 April, by which time Libre Abordo had already lifted over 26 million barrels of PDVSA crude.
Consulted industry experts familiar with PDVSA operations said that prepayment of oil was, perhaps, caused by Libre Abordo's inability to raise capital. Established multinational energy companies have been required by PDVSA to prepay for oil in the recent past. We are of the opinion that given Saab's track record in Venezuela, his connection to Nicolas Maduro and partnership with convicted drug traffickers, and the almost unique way in which he has been able to transition from construction to food stuff procurement, to forex, to gold mining and exporting, to oil producing and crude trading, prepayment is simply the accounting term chosen to book crude deliveries that are not properly paid.
Despite extensive research and consultations, this site has not been able to obtain evidence of Saab's prepayments to PDVSA.
Other sources have relayed that a very complex money laundering operation involving cash and cryptocurrencies is being run by Saab and his proxies through different shells in Mexico, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, UAE, Singapore and Venezuela. New special purpose vehicles are constantly being registered to stay ahead of Treasury sanctions, Libre Abordo, Schlager Business Group, Proton Sociedad Limitada and Delta Limited Liability Company being just the latest examples.
The discrepancies in PDVSA's crude loading line up and its SAP system are puzzling. As way of example, tanker Kelly, loaded 2MB of Merey on 25 March. It had to wait at anchorage for sanitary inspection and authorisation due to COVID19. Bill of lading was issued on 31 March. While line up data records Amuay anchorage as loading port, it loaded in fact at Jose Terminal. It departed for Malta, switching AIS off in front of Paria Peninsula. Since it has changed destination to Turkey, then Gibraltar and Lagos. Line up data shows PDVSA Petroleo as client. But where it gets interesting is in corresponding information: PDVSA's SAP system has no record of Kelly whatsoever in March / April. Two million barrels of Merey seemingly off the books.
We’ve been keeping track of tanker Kelly on its voyage around Med. Shipping data has @PDVSA as client of its 2MB Merey. No StS recorded. Grupo Jomadi (another front of #AlexSaab?) is behind, as per our sources Cc @USTreasury #OOTT ht @Simon85205764 https://t.co/VdUfMlemny pic.twitter.com/g8JhQac70z
— Alek Boyd “Plagiarism is corruption” (@infodi0) June 1, 2020
Further data analysis shows, for instance, Thomas Haeusler, previously reported here as proxy of Procerium Energy PTE Ltd, associated to a cargo lifted by Libre Abordo in February (Delos Voyager). While loading line up has some of these details, it lacks data shown on SAP about Tipco's liftings, which started late January and have continued since.
Proton Sociedad Limitada and Delta Limited Liability Company do not show in PDVSA's SAP. Not once. In loading line up, however, Schlager appeared on 30 April as client, in 1MB Merey cargo to be lifted by tanker Demetrios (IMO: 9432048). On 6 May, same Demetrios was to load 1MB of Special Hamaca Blend (SHB), only this time client was registered as Proton Sociedad Limitada. There is no record of Demetrios vessel in SAP...
Payment terms that apply to other companies vary between cash (Curaçao Oil Company) to five days (Chevron) and 90 days (Cementos Cienfuegos) after Bill of Lading issue. There are also discrepancies where it comes to pricing. Same crude or blends are sold at different rates to different clients at the same time. While not unique to Saab's shells, the system shows quite a lot accountability errors in booking his transactions in particular. Is it deliberate?
Interestingly, Chevron and ENI have lifted cargoes from Puerto Miranda. These could be related to Petrozamora, ie Alejandro Betancourt and his Treasury sanctioned Gazprom-controlled shell.
Prepayment terms have been applied to Libre Abordo, Schlager Business Group, Richeart International Limited, Futura Asia Limited (controlled by Johnny Cecotto Jr), Asia Charm Ltd Fze, Suelopetrol Exploración y Producción, and Main Business Charter Corp.
Libre Abordo announced in late May that it was bankrupt. It said it was carrying a debt of some $90 million, without specifics as to creditors involved. This was followed by an extraordinary announcement by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which informed that Venezuela (undoubtedly a creditor) would instead take Libre Abordo's bankruptcy case to the International Criminal Court. Questions regarding its alleged bankruptcy were sent to Libre Abordo's PR person over 48 hours ago. No reply has been received.