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Alek Boyd



"He who surrenders his intellect to that of other, for the sake of an ideology, creed or belief, commits the supreme act of denying its own self."



Updated: 2017-03-01T09:50:34.842+00:00

 



London's Met Police hunt for burglars of my flat

2017-03-01T09:50:34.894+00:00

As per news report:
Published: 18 March, 2015 By ALINA POLIANSKAYA |  POLICE are looking to speak to three people in connection with a burglary in Primrose Hill, in which two computers were stolen from a flat.
The men were caught on CCTV inside the building, after being refused entry into the secure block by the porter. They tried buzzing for entry several times, between 8am and 9.45am on November 17 last year, and though they were denied access, they were later caught on camera in the building.
One suspect, who is described as Middle Eastern, aged approximately 40 and of medium build, was wearing a light brown jacket over a white shirt, a blue-grey scarf and grey flat cap. Another is aged around 25, of Mediterranean appearance and of slim build. He wore a shiny, red quilted jacket with white writing on the chest and crown of the hood, which was worn up. He also had on black lycra jogging bottoms The third suspect was a 40 to 50 year old white man, of medium build. He had a goatee beard and wore a grey hooded coat with a grey hat under the hoof and a grey scaf.
Police urge anyone who can identify these men or know where they are, to contact DC Stephanie Barron of Camden CID on 101.
(image)



Tambalea el chavismo

2015-03-27T13:18:37.520+00:00

p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; direction: ltr; color: rgb(0, 0, 10); line-height: 120%; text-align: left; }p.western { font-family: "Cambria",serif; font-size: 12pt; }p.cjk { font-family: "Arial Unicode MS"; font-size: 12pt; }p.ctl { font-family: "Arial Unicode MS"; font-size: 12pt; }a:link { } Todo evento histórico cuenta con un momento decisivo. Propondré que la carrera política de Hugo Chavez no comenzó con el golpe de estado, sino con aquella entrevista en la cual se dirigió a la nación y pronunció el famoso “por ahora”. Aquel breve discurso capturó la imaginación de una sociedad, y catapultó al golpista al estrellato. A más de dos décadas de aquel momento, Venezuela se encuentra en una vergonzosa situación. No está igual, o mejor, que en 1992, o 1999, está peor, mucho peor, en cuanto renglón o aspecto mesurable se considere. En el 2015 ha ocurrido un evento que pudiera ser el principio del fin del chavismo. La Orden Ejecutiva del Presidente Barack Obama, congelando cuentas y bienes, y suspendiendo visas a siete esbirros del régimen de Nicolas Maduro por graves violaciones a los derechos humanos y corrupción entre otras cosas, ha sido, en mi opinión, un momento decisivo en la historia política de Venezuela. No lo es por el lenguaje declarando a Venezuela una amenaza contra los EEUU, ya que ello es una formalidad legal requerida para tales decisiones del ejecutivo estadounidense, sino por las repercusiones que dicha orden ha tenido. A tan sólo unos días de la orden del Presidente Obama, el Departamento del Tesoro de los EEUU a través de su oficina de prevención de delitos financieros (FINCEN), hizo pública otra orden, esta vez contra Banca Privada de Andorra (BPA). La orden de FINCEN identifica a un ruso, a un chino, y menciona, sin proveer nombres, a operadores financieros que habrían participado en apropiación indebida y blanqueo de 4.200 millones de dólares de PDVSA. El anuncio de FINCEN ha causado, a su vez, un terremoto en el sector financiero andorrano y español, ya que el BPA es dueño del Banco de Madrid, otro banco que opera en España. Investigaciones de la Comisión de Prevención de Blanqueo de Capitales e Infracciones Monetarias de España (SEPBLAC), hechas públicas por el diario El Mundo, identifican con nombre y apellido a seis operadores venezolanos mencionados por FINCEN. Los mencionados por El Mundo son: Alcides Rondón, Javier Alvarado, Nervis Villalobos, Carlos Aguilera, Omar Farías, y Rafael Jiménez. Reportajes subsiguientes afirman que estos individuos, en conjunto, recibieron sobornos por unos 140 millones de dólares para la obtención de contratos con instituciones del estado venezolano. Mientras ese escándalo se ventila en la prensa española, la venezolana no hace mención al respecto. Ello se debe a que el chavismo controla, directa o indirectamente, casi la totalidad de los grandes medios en Venezuela. Lo que está por ventilarse sobre las adquisiciones de dichos medios es de singular gravedad. Ahora, suceda eso o no, algunos de los operadores que llevaron a cabo dichas adquisiciones, junto con el régimen chavista, también son objeto de atención, investigación y seguimiento por parte de autoridades federales estadounidenses. La Orden Ejecutiva identifica a siete funcionarios chavistas, pero no son los únicos. Tras bastidores agentes federales han estado actualizando bases de datos con información sobre las actividades de Victor Vargas, Victor Gill, Danilo Díaz Granados, David Osío, Wilmer Ruperti, Luis Oberto, Roberto Rincón, entre otros dizque empresarios, banqueros, y operadores financieros venezolanos. Algunos de ellos, como Vargas y Gill, están ya cooperando con las autoridades luego de haber perdido visados para viajar a EEUU. Otros, como Alejandro Betancourt, Pedro Trebbau, Francisco Convit, Edgar Romero Lazo y Francisco D'Agostino (Derwick Associates), están siendo investigados por la Fiscalía de Manhattan y otras agencias federales. Y otros, como Díaz Granados, están deshojando la margarita en la Repúbli[...]



Derwick Associates paid bribes to get contracts in Venezuela

2015-03-23T11:38:35.797+00:00

[UPDATED*] On Monday this week, one of Spain's newspapers of record (El Mundo), published the details of six Venezuelans being investigated, by Spain's Anti Money Laundering squad (SEPBLAC), for having taken part in money laundering. The news came after the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) singled out a bank in Andorra (BPA), a tax haven tucked in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, for having laundered money for Russian, Chinese and Venezuelan criminals. FINCEN's announcement came in the back of an Executive Order from President Barack Obama, targeting seven high ranking chavistas, for being "involved in or responsible for the erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the significant public corruption by senior government officials in Venezuela."p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; line-height: 120%; } *Fresh reports from another paper of record indicate that Spanish companies paid $148 million to obtain contracts in Venezuela (in English here).Two of the six individuals identified, Nervis Villalobos and Javier Alvarado, have been named in a lawsuit brought against Derwick for having received millions of dollars worth of bribes. Furthermore, Villalobos is no stranger to corruption accusations in Venezuela. The man has got pedigree.Villalobos was Venezuela's Viceminister of Energy and CEO of CADAFE, a power company fully owned by the Venezuelan State. In 2007, Chavez ordered all power companies, whether public or private, to merge into a nationwide conglomerate named CORPOELEC. Having being sacked from his CADAFE position by Hugo Chavez, Villalobos was brought back as an aide of sorts by Rafael Ramirez, longtime Energy Minister and CEO of PDVSA. Villalobos has been a regular passenger in flights aboard Derwick airlines.Alvarado, on his part, was CEO of Electricidad de Caracas, and shared with Ramirez important board positions at newly formed CORPOELEC. Alvarado's son, also called Javier, is a school friend of Pedro Trebbau, one of Derwick's top executives. In fact, when Alvarado Jr was importing an old Porsche he bought from a convicted oil trader, he gave Derwick's office address in Caracas as contact. FINCEN's report mentioned PDVSA as source of syphoned billions. Derwick Associates got all its 12 contracts either directly from CORPOELEC (through Alvarado and Villalobos), or from its partner PDVSA / Bariven (through Villalobos and Ramirez). El Mundo then revealed that Duro Felguera, a Spanish procurement company, had paid Villalobos $50 million for “oral consulting”, in relation to a €1,500 million contract in Venezuela (Termocentro). The exposé caused Duro Felguera a 10% drop in share value.In a separate deal, ProEnergy paid bribes to Majed Khalil Majzoub ($8 million) and Omar Petit ($1.3 million) to obtain another contract in Venezuela (Termozulia). And what a thug is that Majzoub...Petit used to work for ProEnergy, as Director of Latin America Business Development. His father, of same name, worked for PDVSA until retirement. Venezuelan sources claim that Petit Sr was an associate of sorts of Jesus Rangel, former CEO of C.A. Energía Eléctrica de Venezuela (Enelven), yet another one of the companies absorbed by CORPOELEC. Crucially, Rangel was ratified in his position at Enelven by Villalobos, after a political cleansing of anti Chavez workers in 2004. ProEnergy and Derwick have submitted procurement proposals to Venezuelan institutions. They started doing so long before Hugo Chavez declared the state of emergency that ended up awarding 12 no-bid contracts to Derwick, according to documents leaked by ProEnergy staff (see email below). Proposals submitted by ProEnergy and proposals submitted by Derwick were authored by the same individuals: John Stevens (ProEnergy's Vice President of Sales), Joaquin Mavares (ProEnerg[...]



The world is shrinking for Derwick Associates

2015-03-16T14:34:01.921+00:00

One of Spain's newspapers of record, El Mundo, published in its front page today about corrupt officials from Venezuela using the subsidiary of a little bank in Andorra to launder billions of dollars. The news may come as a surprise to some. Readers of this and other blogs of mine will, I hope, share a feeling of vindication with me today, for as extraordinary as El Mundo's decision to name names is, we have known this for a while. In fact, I alerted Spain's money laundering authorities (SEPBLAC) about it in April 2012.Six names have been mentioned in relation to this money laundering scandal: Alcides Rondon, Carlos Aguilera, Omar Farias, Rafael Jimenez, Javier Alvarado and Nervis Villalobos. Some background is provided, though much information still needs to make it to print.Derwick Associates has been described by El Mundo as an American company that has benefited from public contracts given by Alvarado and Villalobos, now under investigation. Derwick is not an American co, we know that, but Alvarado and Villalobos are key to this multibillion dollar swindle.Nervis Villalobos was Viceminister of Energy and CEO of CADAFE just prior to Hugo Chavez decision to merge all power companies in Venezuela in 2007, while Alvarado and PDVSA's CEO Rafael Ramirez shared important board positions at the newly created CORPOELEC. More relevant still, all 12 contracts awarded to Derwick Associates were given by CORPOELEC and / or its subsidiaries / partners (CVG and PDVSA / BARIVEN). Missouri-based ProEnergy Services -under investigation by U.S. Federal Agencies- was then subcontracted to carry out all the work.Luis Jose Diaz Zuloaga, stepfather of one of Derwick's principals (Francisco Convit), was CEO of Electricidad de Valencia (one of the private cos forcefully absorbed by CORPOELEC). Javier Alvarado, in turn, is the father of a close school chum of Pedro Trebbau (Alvarado Jr on the left, with light blue, Trebbau in the center, dark blue and glasses).Through Diaz Zuloaga, Villalobos, Alvarado and Ramirez, the Derwick bolichicos managed to get over 1.3 billion USD worth of contracts, according to ProEnergy Services sources familiar with the deals. In addition, Derwick overcharged the Venezuelan State 35%, on average, on each contract, according to leaked documents and ProEnergy Services sources familiar with the contracts.Spain has been one of Derwick's favourite destinations. Millions of Euros have been spent in lavish weddings, and real estate acquisitions. The Bank of Spain, now at the centre of Andorra's money laundering scandal, ignored AML regulations in purchases involving Derwick. This may be due to the fact that the CEO of the subsidiary of Banca Privada D'Andorra (BPA) operating in Madrid (Banco de Madrid), Mr Jose Perez Fernandez, is a former Director of Compliance of Bank of Spain. The Derwick thugs have become so emboldened that relatives have threatened Spanish journalists,  forcing them to sign gag orders prohibiting any disclosure about their "businesses". Some of the money that Derwick used for property purchases didn't come from BPA / Banco Madrid though, but from Portugal's BANIF, yet another provider of money laundering services for PDVSA's middlemen such as Villalobos.Spanish authorities have been caught napping at the wheel with regards to arrival of Venezuelan "entrepreneurs" and their "wealth". The case of Juan Carlos Escotet provides the perfect case study. But others come to mind: Miguel Angel Capriles Lopez, or Victor Vargas's acquisition through proxies of Banco Europeo de Finanzas. The reality is that none of these fortunes are legitimate. Cursory checks on origin would, almost certainly, reveal BPA kind of illegal deals.While this happens in Spain, the Obama administration keeps increasing the pressure on chavistas and their assets in the U.S. Recent sanctions targeting human rights violators are but the tip of the iceberg. Federal Agencies' sources claim that much activity is undergoing behind the scenes, in an attemp[...]



On U.S. sanctions to chavistas: A note of gratitude to Obama, and a tip

2015-03-10T12:17:35.639+00:00

Dear President Obama,Thank you.Thank you for having the courage to sanction a bunch of thugs, when all other democratic nations turn their backs on us.Thank you for showing that Liberals do not tolerate human rights violators, regardless of where they stand in the political spectrum.Thank you for shining a light of hope upon our battered nation.Not long ago, I was in a conference about the offshore financial services industry. I remember, in particular, a conversation with the organizer, who claimed that the only country in the world that does something with regards to money launderers is the U.S.We have seen how U.S. authorities have slapped big banks with hefty fines, due to their involvement in financing terrorism, large scale money laundering and other similar actions.Your Executive Order imposing sanctions on seven chavistas suggests that those who associate and partake in the "illicit financial flows from public corruption in Venezuela" will also be targeted. As one of Venezuela's foremost researchers on corruption, let me stress upon the importance of targeting such people.What keeps Nicolas Maduro's regime in power is not the might of its armed forces; is not the brutality meted out on innocents, or torture and assassination of students; is not its political cunning, nor its association with the communist Cuban handlers. But rather corruption. The freedom to use Venezuela's cash with absolute discretion, and without any form of accountability, that's what keeps chavismo in power.If you were to disrupt that, by sanctioning the enablers, the facilitators of corruption, chavismo would tremble. For the U.S. financial system, which your EO aims to protect, continues to act as a gigantic laundromat, for nearly all involved in corruption in Venezuela. U.S. based banks, lawyers, lobbyists and businesses are employed as a matter of standard practice by the Boliburgeoisie. It'll be difficult, even for you, to be able to impose meaningful sanctions on somebody like Diosdado Cabello. But you can very well hit his proxies, the financial operators that use the U.S. financial system to launder the proceeds of corruption. You could start with Roberto Rincón, based in Texas. He knows a thing or two about other OFAC-designated thugs, like Hugo Carvajal, a distinguished member of Diosdado's "Cartel de los Soles."You could summon Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi. Now that one is a double -perhaps a triple, quadruple...?- whammy:he is married to Victor Gill's daughter; used to be partner of Raul Gorrín;does deals with Francisco D'Agostino (also New York-based and currently under investigation by Manhattan's DA Office and other Federal Agencies), who's in turn married to Victor Vargas' daughter; is partner in some other deals with Coco Capriles (one of Nelson Merentes' favourite proxies / operators); is associated with Derwick Associates folks, reportedly as Venezuela's largest black market forex operators; has a direct line to the very top of PDVSA (Rafael Ramirez, Baldo Sanso, and Asdrubal Chavez), reportedly allocator of hundreds of millions of dollars to be used in arbitrage;did, together with his father, some deals with Wilmer Ruperti;is into banking, insurance, food processing, and services in Venezuela;reportedly does business with Danilo Diaz Granados and Leonardo Gonzalez Dellán.The above, there are many more living in the U.S.A., are the kind of informants that can help you sanction with surgical precision Venezuela's top human rights violators.[...]



How to get a bank for free, Juan Carlos Escotet style

2015-03-24T09:35:14.011+00:00

While investors and businesses were running for cover, multinationals were unable to repatriate profits, inflation and devaluation killed the Bolivar "Fuerte" (BsF) value, and the Venezuelan economy went to the dogs chavistas, a Boliburgeois banker, Juan Carlos Escotet, managed quite an extraordinary deal. No point denying it, so kudos are in order.Say you have a bank (BANESCO) in a country with three different foreign exchange rates (Venezuela):the first ($1 = 6.3 BsF) available only to businesses dealing with "critical" imports (i.e. food, medicine, etc.); the second ($1 = 12 BsF) available to businesses in not so "critical" sectors; and the third fluctuating, the highest one, at $1 = 177 BsF, for everyone else. Regardless of which one you are willing to get your USD from, you still need a chavista if you want to exchange, say the entire asset portfolio of a bank.Clever operator Mr EscotetIf you happen to be Mr Escotet (pictured), you are not going to print in press releases your bank's book value at the highest rate of exchange, but at the lowest, as impossible as it may be to actually justify said value, according to Escotet's own words  (see point 4). So in Mr Escotet's world, and that of the media which reprints without question his every utterance, BANESCO portfolio of assets -whatever the amount in BsF- gets magically converted into USD at the preferential -essential sector only- rate of $1 = 6.3 BsF, thus falsifying true net worth.European bureaucrats and media outlets aren't concerned by such details of course, so Mr Escotet found out about a distressed bank for sale (Abanca) that had gotten more than €16 billion worth of aid from European and Spanish funds, and decided to put a €1 billion bid for it. Placing a bid is not the same as having to fork out the full amount, right? Having won the bid to acquire 88.33% of Abanca, Mr Escotet negotiated payment with Spanish authorites: 40% upfront and five years to clear remaining balance. With that in his pocket, Mr Escotet set out to raise the required €400 million to close the deal, which he did, eventually.Abanca, formerly know as NCG Banco, had assets worth €71 billion in 2011 according to the European Commission. BANESCO, the Venezuelan bank of which Mr Escotet controls an estimated 58%, is worth less than $2 billion, but that was never going to stop Mr Escotet, was it?So the deal, quite brilliant I must admit, went thus:put a bid on a distressed bank from a country whose authorities / media don't get the half of it;inflate true net worth by capitalising on ignorance of three-tier exchange rate;promise that no jobs will be lost should the deal be approved;upon deal approval, negotiate favourable payment terms and raise first installment;upon gaining control of distressed bank, set up a fire sale to recoup initial payment and then some.It must be said, Mr Escotet managed quite the deal. Without putting a coin, he bought on some else's dime a bank several times larger than his BANESCO. He got a foothold in Europe, increased his net worth many times over, in real terms, and managed to dupe Spanish, European authorities, stakeholders and media long enough to get what he wanted.Mr Escotet, whose net worth was recently put in some obscure Chinese report at $2.3 billion, has definitely entered the big leagues. His 58% of BANESCO doesn't quite get to $1 billion, but BANESCO's 88.33% share of Abanca's €71 billion does. Chapeau Mr Escotet.[...]