When the Justice Department announced "Five Russian Nationals and Two Oil Traders Charged in Global Sanctions Evasion and Money Laundering Scheme" this site recognised one of the names: Juan Fernando Serrano Ponce. Serrano Ponce is involved in a company called Treseus, which is registered under similar namesakes in Spain, UAE and with offices in Iran, Spain and Italy. Treseus banks at CAJAMAR and BANCA POPOLARE DELL’EMILIA ROMAGNA. Serrano Ponce was born in Murcia, Spain, on May 14 1975. His Spanish ID is 34802749T, and has used Spanish passports numbers AAE461527, AAJ396087, BBX129415, PAA699521, PAC472666, PAF609961 and PAL143207. Serrano Ponce is very well connected in Venezuela as -at times- proxy of Raul Gorrin and partner of Raul Gorrin Jr. He has other connections, for example that to Eugen Bejarano Sader, or to Ángel José Ramírez de Pinho (Treseus' representative in Venezuela). He's also close to the Perez Abad clan. Serrano Ponce did (some) energy business with Oscar Gonzalo Garcia Simmons and Rafael Vicente Azuaje (Supraquimic). In a visit to Caracas, Serrano Ponce also took photos -and boasted about it- with Hassan Kazemi Qomi.
Little surprise, therefore, regarding DoJ's latest findings. Smuggling crude, which after Treasury sanctions regime is what PDVSA does, associating with Iranians, Russians and using all manner of maritime, financial, and corporate subterfuge has become standard operating procedure. It's a rogues' club. Paying millions of dollars in cash is also good old criminal practice. There is a new normal at play: intermediaries, officials, jurisdictions and methods are strikingly similar, if not the same.
DoJ's indictment reveals Eurofinance (Alex Saab's favourite) as one of the banks used in the scheme. No wonder, given stakeholders. The Panamanian bank involved is Juan Carlos Escotet's Banesco as per sources familiar with the criminal probe.
DoJ mentioned a Russian entity called Setevye Tekhnologii. This shell appeared as client in PDVSA's crude line ups in a couple of occasions, in relation to fuel oil bound for Malaysia aboard Melogy vessel (IMO 9247376). Its Venezuelan shipping agent is Desarrollos 1405 C.A., owned according to registry records by sisters Franny and Francis Garcia Arreaza. Despite no longer being properly registered, Desarrollos continues to be involved in many trades involving completely dodgy entities, like Setevye.
DoJ should go the extra mile however, and start pulling some of the leads mentioned above. This site remains, as always, keen to provide actionable intelligence that can surely lead to more indictments.