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Diego Salazar is this unpresentable thug whose only redeeming and unearned feature is to have a first cousin called Rafael Ramirez. Ramirez was President of PDVSA and Venezuela's Minister of Energy for over a decade, during which he ensured that his closest family and collaborators were given plenty of opportunities for corruption. As PDVSA CEO, he forced Diego Salazar as main intermediator between Chinese companies receiving billions worth of procurement contracts from Venezuela and PDVSA.
Thus far, with respect to Venezuela, that #FinCENFiles thing has been a huge let down. Alejandro Ceballos and Samark Lopez got early mentions. Then it was the turn of Alejandro Betancourt. And today is the Obertos case, where the Miami Herald, and whoever they're talking to at DoJ, just burned the guy that was helping them unravel the gargantuan corruption that took place at PDVSA under Rafael Ramirez' leadership. As usual, the Miami Herald piece just confirms information already published here, months after the fact:
Readers of this site might remember the series of exposés published in the Spanish version of this site, about Rafael Ramirez's direct involvement in approving a $4.5 billion money laundering scheme set by Luis & Ignacio Oberto Anselmi.
Gotham City has been on a streak lately, and today it comes with another excellent report on Union Bank, another "money laundering concern" in Liechtenstein that was servicing none other than Alex Saab, Nicolas Maduro's personal representative. Saab was arrested in June in Cape Verde, when en route to Iran to conduct Maduro's affairs.
The recent revelation that a Swiss watchdog had frozen $900 million in cash belonging to an Angolan "businessman" caused surprise in some quarters. Evidently, those surprised must have forgotten already the FIFA scandal. They must have missed also news about Michael Lauber. For those who haven't been following, that'd be Switzerland's Attorney General, basically in bed with the FIFA thugs he was meant to be investigating. We then have Swiss banks, historically the pride and joy and a considerable chunk of Switzerland's economy.
Local sources in Venezuela reported yesterday the assassination of Leonardo Santilli, a PDVSA contractor. Santilli was already in the crosshairs of U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) for bribing PDVSA officials to obtain procurement contracts, which is PDVSA's standard operating procedure. The novelty here is that Santilli appears to have been hit by contract killers, allegedly due to his disposition to collaborate with DoJ.
PDVSA has found a way to beat sanctions from U.S. Department of the Treasury. According to shipping line up data seen by this site, it exported a total of 16.5 million barrels of crude in August. Spain's Repsol, Italy's ENI and India's Reliance regularly lifted crude. In addition, new completely unknown and dodgy operators associated to Alex Saab's network continued taking crude to Singapore, for StS transfer onto China-bound cargoes.