An email from firstname.lastname@example.org yesterday brought into focus Harvest Natural Resources lawsuit against Rafael Ramirez. Ramirez emailed his followers an update, claiming "U.S. court sentence against Rafael Ramirez reversed", which is a spectacularly fake bit of news. A default judgement ($1.4 billion) awarded against Ramirez was set aside by Judge Lee Rosenthal, who concluded "there is good cause to set aside the default judgment and resolve this billion dollar international corruption case on the merits." [bold added] Furthermore, Judge Rosenthal rejected Ramirez' jurisdictional challenges, and ruled that his court has sufficient jurisdiction over the matter. This is, potentially, huge.
If Harvest plays its cards right, it will be easy to show Ramirez ties to other ongoing criminal cases that the U.S. Department of Justice is dealing with. Judge Rosenthal's ruling states that, at this stage, there's enough to prove that Ramirez is "Official B" in an indictement against Luis Carlos de León, one of Ramirez's associates. Crucially, Nervis Villalobos was also indicted along de León. Villalobos has been one of Ramirez favourite operators, a right hand man of sorts in all manner of corrupt schemes in many jurisdictions.
Not long ago we wrote:
"Remember this scandal, involving Ricardo Salgado's Banco Espirito Santo and Rafael Ramirez? It seems Portuguese authorities are more collaborative than Spanish ones... We hear about a criminal probe in Houston (related to Roberto Rincon) that got fresh impetus and has all but outed Ramirez [aka "Grey Hair", "Official B"]. Javier Alvarado -Ramirez's chum at BARIVEN and CORPOELEC- is charged, as well as Nervis Villalobos, one of Ramirez's favourite proxies."
But where it gets truly bad for Ramirez, is in his indisputable connection to a $4.5 billion money laundering scheme set up by Villalobos, Derwick Associates and the Oberto Anselmi brothers. Ramirez's signature is right there in the PDVSA document approving the scheme. According to sources, that Grand Jury case is progressing along nicely and will shatter Ramirez' preposterous claims of innocence.
This site asked Ramirez whether he would accept to an interview in person, in any of his hide outs in Rome, Milan and Turin. No reply was given.
Ramirez is an integral part of criminal probes in Andorra, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, and the U.S. It is, simply, a question of time till international criminal justice catches up. Judge Rosenthal decision is extraordinary, in fact, for it shuts the possibility for Ramirez to find refuge and escape responsibilty on technicalities associated to civil proceedings, such as not being properly served and lack of jurisdiction. Not even in civil courts is the architect of Venezuela's largest ever corruption scheme offered solace, and that's great bloody news!