The Houthis have been in the news recently for their spectacular hijacking of Galaxy Leader cargo vessel in the Red Sea. A known financier of Houthi rebels is Sa’id al-Jamal, described by the U.S. Treasury as "Iran-based Houthi financial supporter, directs a network of front companies and vessels that smuggle Iranian fuel, petroleum products, and other commodities to customers throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. A significant portion of the revenue generated from these sales is directed through a complex international network of intermediaries and exchange houses to the Houthis in Yemen. This revenue helps fund the destabilizing regional activities of the Houthis, IRGC-QF, and others, including Hizballah." Treasury seems to have missed UAE-based Asia Charm Ltd FZE, and Venezuela among jurisdictions where al-Jamal's network could be active.
Asia Charm Ltd first appeared on this site's radar in June 2020 in the midst of an investigation into Alex Saab's unofficial role as PDVSA's trading arm. According to PDVSA's internal documents, two names were associated to Asia Charm Ltd: Emad Mohammad Hussein Otair (aka Emad Otair) and Konstatinos Stavridis.
Treasury designated Stavridis in 2022 for his links to al-Jamal's terrorism-funding network.
Emad Otair is meant to operate from Manila. The two ships that lifted PDVSA crude in 2020 (Rene 9250622 and Marbella 9222455) have since changed management, now in the hands of Cardona Ship Management Services of 1706 Singalong Street, Paco, likely a street stall somewhere in Manila. Otair is also behind registration of the dysfunctional domain asiacharm.ae
Asia Charm Ltd received PDVSA cargoes in conditions similar to other shipments handled by Saab's network of shell companies, that is: "lift crude now pay whenever, if ever". Recent investigations have shown that Saab and partner Alvaro Pulido Vargas owe PDVSA about $1.5 billion in unpaid invoices. Unlike Saab and Pulido, Asia Charm Ltd continues to be favoured by PDVSA to this day. Four cargoes have been lifted by the outfit recently.
Most of Asia Charm Ltd 21-fleet vessels are used for cabotage regularly by PDVSA and are involved in deliveries to third parties in Asia.
Reuters reported that since Treasury's lifting of certain sanctions in October, Asia Charm Ltd re-emerged as recipient of a spot contract from PDVSA. Earlier reports from 2020, also from Reuters, included Asia Charm Ltd as part of a hub of UAE companies that were assisting PDVSA in sanctions avoidance. Sources have informed this site that Asia Charm Ltd has another role, that of intermediary between PDVSA and third parties seeking to purchase Venezuelan crude or refined products.
The Dubai based, one-shareholder shell was included in a "clarification note" full of boilerplate platitudes published by UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nothing has been done against the company in the UAE.
As far as this site's research goes, no one seems to have exposed the connection between Asia Charm Ltd, PDVSA, OFAC-designated Stavridis, and his role as sanctions-busting facilitator in al-Jamal's network. With PDVSA demanding payment in cash or USDT now, it is not a stretch to claim that Stavridis continued operations in Venezuela might be a part of al-Jamal's operations.
In any case, Asia Charm Ltd has been able to come completely clean out of PDVSA's corruption purge. Its vessels are part of PDVSA's operational fleet. Given its uninterrupted trade with PDVSA, who is behind it? Is Asia Charm Ltd Delcy Rodriguez's new Dubai-based operation?