The state of play in the alleged transfer, by Venezuela's Central Bank (BCV) of a sovereign bond, worth $2 billion, to Kellmar Ltd and Tony Caplin, is the following.
The president of the BCV, Nelson Merentes, has denied having signed any document to that effect [link]. If Merentes' denial is to be taken at face value, it remains to be seen what legal actions will he, the BCV, and the government of Venezuela undertake, to prosecute Kellmar Ltd and Tony Caplin, for forgery of documents and signatures of Venezuelan government officials, in what could be a rather elaborate scam.
The signatures of Merentes and Eudomar Tovar that appear in the documents are genuine, according to sources familiar with those matters.
Tony Caplin refused to comment over the phone on the veracity of the documents. Caplin requested instead for any questions to be sent to him via email. What this demonstrates is that both his mobile number and his email address, as they appear in his CV attached to documents published, are genuine.
According to another source, Tony Caplin has admitted having agreed to take part in the project referred to in the documents (health projects in North, Central, South America, and CARICOM countries), upon having been invited to participate by "a very distinguished law firm" from the USA. That is an admission of Caplin of the veracity of part of the information contained in the documents, that which relates to the project. It is also an admission of Caplin's relationship with law firm Pruitt & Pruitt, located in Livingston Alabama, as it appears in the documents.
Michelle Penney, alleged officer of Credit Suisse at Rue de Laussane Geneva, and alleged recipient of SWIFT MT760 instructions from BCV, was at the time Credit Suisse's "relationship manager covering Egypt and the UK. Prior to this role, she spent more than eight years at HSBC in London, Hong Kong and Geneva." [link]. Request for information sent to Ms Penney, now with Morgan Stanley in Dubai, have not been answered as yet.
SWIFT MT760, as referred in the documents, is "a bank-responsible guarantee issued by the sender bank, upon instructions of its account holder, in favour of a particular transaction or counter-party. Since banks never put their own money at risk, the clients funds are "blocked" by the bank, and held by the bank as security (collateral) for the issuance of the SWIFT. The SWIFT MT 760, therefore, is more than just an inter-bank message - it is a full-blown cash-backed negotiable instrument." [link] Therefore, the alleged use of the SWIFT MT760 sent to Ms Penney at the time with Credit Suisse -as collateral available for Kellmar Ltd / Tony Caplin- corresponds with its genuine use.
The format of the SWIFT MT760 as it appears in the documents contains required information, as it is normally and genuinely expected in such transactions [link].
The SWIFT code referred to in the documents (CRESCHZZ80A) belongs to Credit Suisse. However, it is worth noting that the code does not match any of the codes associated with address details of Credit Suisse, in Rue de Laussane, contained in MT760 [link].
So as of time of writing this, there has been an admission by Anthony "Tony" Caplin, Chairman of a UK NHS Trust, Commissioner of the UK Public Works Loan Board (related to HM Treasury), council member of the UK's Medical Research Council, inactive in the Financial Services Authority register, and former Chief Operating Officer of England's Conservative Party, that he agreed to take part in a health facilities construction / management project, with Pruitt & Pruitt attorneys of Livingston Alabama, using as collateral an alleged SWIFT MT760 sent to Credit Suisse in Geneva, backed by a $2 billion sovereign bond from Venezuela's Central Bank.
Requests for comment sent via email to Caplin have not been answered. Request for comment sent via email and fax to Pruitt & Pruitt have not been answered. Request for comment sent via email to Michelle Penney has not been answered.
The Financial Services Authority, and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK, have been informed.
Venezuelan authorities are yet to comment on what sort of investigations will be made with regards to the presumed forgery of official documents and signatures.