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On April 20, 2022 Portugal's Public Prosecution investigating Banco Espirito Santo's (BES) corruption sent an MLAT to Switzerland. Bribe payments, money laundering, forging of documents and criminal association are the accusations put forth by the prosecution.
Canaima Finance Limited. That is, according to a criminal probe led in Portugal by prosecutor Olga Barata, the shell in which Rafael Ramirez got €47,831,557 from a slush fund to make bribe payments created by Ricardo Salgado (Banco Espirito Santo - BES). Luis Rosa from El Observador was given access to the prosecution files and has the full report.
In the league of "corruption that bankrupts nations" Venezuela is an outlier. The corruption is of such scale that over a quarter of Venezuela's population have decided that exile and asylum seeking are better options. Corruption is, and has been, one of the fundamental policies of chavismo. Trillions of dollars have been lost since Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999. Whereas Chavez formulated the policy, Rafael Ramirez was hand-picked as executor in chief.
Is the ask that has no reasonable explanation: how come Rafael Ramirez has not been indicted, charged, arrested, extradited, jailed? Anyone that has spent more than five minutes in Venezuela knows the answer. Justice is something reserved for political foes, a tool to be used selectively, when convenient and politically expedient. Ramirez seems to have become a target in some factions within chavismo, but it will be difficult to disentangle mess left behind. For one Nicolas Maduro was sitting across the table in PDVSA's board when Ramirez was looting the company with family and friends.
Someone must have shared "UPDATED - Nervis Villlalobos & Rafael Ramirez' web of corruption exposed" with Tareck el Aissami, who, in developing news, denounced yesterday some (just some) of the participants in a scheme that misappropriated and laundered over $4 billion dollars in 2012. El Aissami mentioned Rafael Ramirez, Luis and Ignacio Oberto, architects behind the theft of course. Nervis Villalobos,
Check out this headline: "Former top Venezuelan oil ministry lawyer gets 4 years in Miami money laundering case." The lawyer in question is Carmelo Urdaneta Aqui, a confidant and trusted operator in all manner of corruption of Rafael Ramirez.
Let us get into specifics: on 5th May 2016, Andorran Prosecutor Canòlic Mingorance sent a Letter Rogatory to Mireille Venet, Assistant to National Financial Prosecutor's Office in Paris.
Some time ago we reported that Abraham Edgardo Ortega had pleaded guilty of accepting bribes in connection to a multi billion dollar money laundering scheme. It was reported yesterday that Ortega got sentenced to two years imprisonment. Ortega's sentence reveals, for the first time, Rafael Ramirez's direct involvement in various money laundering scandals centered at PDVSA.
In certain quarters, Italy’s Guardia di Finanza is believed to be one of the world’s foremost law enforcement bodies when it comes to prosecute financial crimes. It might have to do with being Italy’s oldest police force. In any case, Italy has become an important destination for a post modern sort of Mafia: Chavismo, one of the most powerful transnational criminal groups ever to emerge. PDVSA, the State owned energy giant from Venezuela, was managed by Rafael Ramirez for approximately 12 years (2002 – 2014).