2 August 2013

Is JP Morgan laundering Derwick Associates' money?

Eduardo Travieso (left) partying with Pedro Trebbau
Now that I have had time to go over the lawsuit filed by Otto Reich against Derwick Associates' "ChavezKids" (aka Bolichicos), the first thing that caught my eye was to learn about a chap called Eduardo Travieso, formerly with JP Morgan. I have evidence that Mr Travieso had more than just a professional relationship with Derwick Associates' executives. They party together and even went to the same school in Caracas. In addition, a source has indicated that Travieso was receiving significant wires from Derwick, then buying bonds, and almost immediately selling the bonds and wiring the money out of the account. Travieso is mentioned in the claim's particulars:
At all relevant times, Defendants' personal banker at J.P Morgan was Eduardo Travieso ("Travieso"), a Vice President in the Private Banking Division who was located in New York, New York. On March 21, 2013, according to a required U.S. regulatory filing with FINRA, Travieso separated from J.P. Morgan following allegations that Travieso had potentially committed violations of investment-related statutes, fraud, or failure to supervise in connection with investment-related statutes, arising from certain undisclosed customer interactions by Travieso. In the filing, J.P.Morgan has stated publicly that "Mr.Travieso acted in a manner that is inconsistent with the Firm's policies and procedures," and had "fallen short of the standards" of financial industry employees.
Despite whatever problem that Travieso may have had with JP Morgan, he continues to claim -through his LinkedIn page- that he is currently "Vice President at JP Morgan". On the other hand, the lawsuit quotes FINRA, in whose "Brokercheck" page one can read that Travieso is "Not registered with FINRA since 04/2013". FINRA's report on Travieso doesn't help much in dispelling doubts as per his propriety. But all this caught my attention for since I started exposing Derwick Associates, JP Morgan's staff out of a New York office keep visiting my blogs with regularity. Furthermore, I have evidence that staff at JP Morgan, or someone with access to their computers, have been searching the web for information related to corruption involvement by Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez and Pedro Jose Trebbau Lopez, two of the three defendants in Reich's lawsuit.

JP Morgan apparently terminated its relationship with Travieso. But the questions remain: how much of Derwick Associates ill gotten money did JP Morgan, knowingly or unknowingly, launder? Who supervised Travieso? Who were his superiors? How many millions did Derwick wire through JP Morgan to pay American subcontractors and/or companies such as ProEnergy Services and FTI Consulting? Were Al Cardenas' and Hector Torres' services to Derwick also paid from their JP Morgan account? Is JP Morgan expecting people to believe that Travieso moved millions of dollars without anyone noticing, without any superior vetting his "deals"? What KYC did JP Morgan do on Derwick Associates? What due diligence? Or were AML, FCPA and all relevant regulations/legislation simply ignored -as is often the case for banks nowadays- in order to increase revenue thanks to utterly corrupt "businessmen" from banana republics?

FINRA reports JP Morgan as claiming: "Mr. Travieso acted in a manner that is inconsistent with the firm's policies and procedures and may have violated applicable regulatory requirements, including using his residential address as the mailing address for certain customer communications. Mr. Travieso's conduct has accordingly fallen short of the standards to which the firm holds its registered representatives."

I sure hope this case exposes Derwick Associates and its American partners, for I am really keen on hearing what sort of spin these dodgy bankers will put on it.

Otto Reich demanda a Derwick Associates

Para quienes venimos siguiendole la pista a la corrupción en Venezuela el caso Derwick Associates es, podría decirse, único. Es difícil encontrar casos similares, y ello, viniendo de un país en el cual la corrupción es parte de la idiosincrasia como en Venezuela, es mucho decir. Para ponerlo simple: Derwick Associates recibió 12 contratos en 14 meses durante la emergencia eléctrica decretada por el difunto Hugo Chavez en el 2009. Tal numero de contratos, cuyo monto total solo Derwick y el régimen chavista conocen, bien podría exceder los 3.000 millones de dólares. Lo extraordinario, es que Derwick Associates ha sido demandada en Nueva York por nada menos que Otto Reich, antiguo Secretario de Asuntos Hemisféricos del Departamento de Estado, y antiguo Embajador de EEUU en Venezuela. Reich los acusa de haber violado Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Travel Act, federal wire fraud statute.

Reich dice haber perdido miles de dólares debido a las intrigas de Derwick Associates, de forma que aparte de corruptos resultaron chismosos los bolichicos. Resulta que Derwick Associates demando en el 2012 -en Miami- al Banco Venezolano de Crédito (BVC) y a Oscar Garcia Mendoza, por 300 millones de dólares, alegando que tanto BVC como Garcia Mendoza estaban detrás del portal wikiantocorrupcion.org, el cual publicó, entre muchos otros, detalles de los "negocios" de Derwick Associates. Toda esta actividad legal en Miami trajo como consecuencia que agencias federales e instituciones americanas (como el Departamento de Estado, Departamento del Tesoro, FBI y Securities and Exchange Commission) se interesaran por el caso y andan investigando.

En el interim, Reich estaba ayudando a Eligio Cedeño (otro boliburgués de dudosa reputación), a conseguir refugio en EEUU. La relación con Cedeño le estaba generando 20.000 dólares mensuales a Reich. Cuando Derwick inicio la demanda contra el BVC y Garcia Mendoza, el banco estaba considerando contratar los servicios de Reich. Derwick entonces trato de sobornarlo con promesas de "mucho dinero". Cuando esto falló sembraron el chisme de que Reich en realidad estaba trabajando para ellos, lo cual produjo, según la demanda, no solo el despido de Reich por parte de Cedeño, sino la imposibilidad de que el BVC contratase sus servicios (por otros 20.000 dólares).

Los demandados son Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, su primo Pedro Trebbau Lopez, y Francisco D'Agostino. Betancourt y Trebbau son directivos de Derwick. D'Agostino es yerno de Victor Vargas, dueño del Banco Occidental de Descuento. D'Agostino también es cuñado de Henry Ramos Allup (la hediondez de la corrupción toca tanto al régimen como a la oposición). Se desconoce hasta ahora cómo fue D'Agostino a parar a esa demanda, aun cuando se especula que está detrás de la reciente compra de Intercable por parte de Derwick y ha hecho otros negocios con los bolichicos. Pero también aparece un tal Eduardo Travieso, quien hasta hace poco trabajaba para JP Morgan, uno de los bancos más respetados de EEUU. Resulta que el Travieso estudio, o fue al mismo colegio en Caracas que Trebbau, son panas, de atrás, antes que cualquiera de ellos se ganase el primer centavo o hiciese el primer "negocio". Una vez en JP Morgan (Nueva York) el Travieso empezó a hacer travesuras: compraba bonos por millones de dólares, los cuales vendía inmediatamente. Los fondos para las compras de bonos venían de Derwick. Parece ser que nadie en JP Morgan se preocupo nunca por establecer la legitimidad de origen de todo ese dinero (producto de la corrupción). Luego de la venta de dichos bonos, por supuesto que cualquier cuestionamiento de dineros provenientes de JP Morgan está fuera de lugar. Así, Derwick legitimó millones de dólares robados en Venezuela a través de JP Morgan. Unas veces para pagar a empresas americanas subcontratistas, como ProEnergy Services, otras veces para pagar los servicios de "relacionistas públicos" como el republicano Al Cardenas y  FTI Consulting, y otras para pagar a su cancerbero legal Hector Torres, quien se ha dedicado a amedrentar y amenazar a periodistas como Cesar Batiz, blogueros como Miguel Octavio y Steven Bodzin, analistas financieros como Toby Bottome de Veneconomía, y medios digitales como Forbes.

Pero el dinero malhabido también dio para jets, apartamentos en Nueva York, cotos de caza en España, y fastuosas bodas. El espectáculo del nuevoriquismo de los bolichicos es tal, que nadie, en ningún lado, viendo su comportamiento, puede concluir, como ellos pretenden hacer creer, que vienen de familias adineradas. Se les ocurrió demandar al BVC, se dice que por ordenes de Jose Vicente Rangel, y salieron, como era de esperarse, con el rabo entre las piernas. Se les ocurrió amenazar a la prensa, a blogueros y a periodistas, llegando incluso a usar al SEBIN como una especie de servicio de seguridad privada. Tal es la impunidad con la actúan que mandaron al SEBIN y a una empresa de seguridad privada llamada SERSECO a investigar a Batiz, a intervenirle las comunicaciones, se le metieron en su casa, le pusieron un tracker satelital a su carro, llamaron a su madre y lo andaban siguiendo. Pero no solo en Venezuela queda el asunto: Reich alega que documentos relacionados con la demanda de Derwick contra el BVC "desaparecieron" del archivo publico de la corte de Miami-Dade.

Como que nadie les dijo, a estos advenedizos recién vestidos, que atacar a la prensa es mal negocio, y meterse con periodistas galardonados internacionalmente peor aun. Mandar al SEBIN a amedrentar gente en Venezuela es casi normal, pero mandar a desaparecer documentos públicos de una corte en EEUU? Se les ocurrió también inventar cosas y sembrar rumores de uno de los funcionarios del Departamento de Estado con más trayectoria, contactos, y experiencia y desde ya puede aseverarse que lo que les viene es candela. Todo lo anterior con una más que cuestionable trayectoria. Como que no hay mente clara ni voz sensata en el entorno de Derwick, nadie les ha dicho, a estos empresarios ejemplares, como dice el presidente de PDVSA Rafael Ramirez, que el que tiene rabo de paja no debe acercarse a la candela. Por cierto, Ramirez también está mencionado en la demanda, así como Nervis Villalobos, Rodolfo Sanz, Javier Alvarado, Francisco Convit, y otro de los bancos predilectos del régimen: DAVOS Financial de David Osío. El nombre de Diosdado Cabello también aparecerá por ahí. Todos los anteriores parecen estar embarrados con los imberbes de Derwick, sea en la malversación de millones de dólares a través del otorgamiento de contratos sin licitación, sea en la colaboración en el blanqueo de capitales producto de la corrupción, sea en el soborno a funcionarios públicos para la obtención ilegal de contratos, o sea en la aceptación de sobornos.

La demanda de Reich va a traer cola, y mucha. No es Luisa Estela Morales la que va a ver el caso...

18 July 2013

This blogger will move to infodio.com

From now on, I shall be blogging at a new address:

http://infodio.com

The reason? I don't like agents of Chavez or his apprentices censoring perfectly valid and legitimate info on the basis of bogus copyright infringement notices (DMCA).

15 July 2013

Edward Snowden Meet Franklin Chaparro; a Taste for How Journalists are Treated in Venezuela

There's a lot of talk in Venezuela these days about whether Edward Snowden is going to end up in Caracas, protected and supported by chavismo. Snowden, already famous worldwide for revealing how the US government spies on its people, said recently that Venezuela had his "gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless..."

Cesar Batiz is not a whistleblower but an award winning journalist. Venezuela is a country where the Thin Blue Line isn't the police but, rather, intrepid journalists and muckrakers in the best sense of the word. Batiz works in Ultimas Noticias (Venezuela's most-read newspaper). In 2011 Batiz published a couple of articles about a developing corruption scandal in the energy sector. Derwick Associates, a company that came out of nowhere, was granted 12 contracts in 14 months to, basically, solve Venezuela's power crisis. Derwick overbilled in the hundreds of millions of dollars and likely split the difference with their friends in the Chavez government. And how did Chavez's cronies in the private sector, and the Venezuelan government itself react to this journalist's corruption exposé?

Here's how.

Franklin Chaparro
Meet Franklin Chaparro (pictured). He owns a security company called Servicios de Seguridad Consolidados (SERSECO).  Chaparro started out as a fireman, got into security, was at one point "commissar" of DISIP (former intelligence police force) and ended up in the private sector. His work in the security field is widely known and respected in Venezuela. He has a radio programme. He is also a leading voice within FEDECAMARAS (business group) and his success has been featured in business publications. His company is the representative for Venezuela and the Caribbean of Garrett.

Sources inside SERSECO have revealed that Chaparro, who pontificates about "the huge moral crisis" affecting Venezuela and how he "respects the dignity of people", has done work for Derwick Associates. His remit, however, is not confined to merely providing Derwick Associates execs with dozens of bodyguards. Derwick's young turks were getting paranoid about the level of detail in Batiz's journalistic reports about their crimes, and so they wanted to establish whether anyone within their organisation was leaking information to Batiz. And so, Chaparro was asked to spy on Cesar Batiz.

Chaparro, who has a history with the intelligence police, must have gotten hold of his old chums to lend a hand. When I asked Batiz about this he said that a satellite tracker was placed in his car. Men in motorcycles were commissioned to follow his every move. His work diary -where Batiz kept copious notes of his investigations, contacts, telephones, appointments, etc.- suddenly got "lost" in his own home. His email was hacked. In addition, his elderly mother got threatening phone calls from the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN). The SEBIN is the new DISIP, where Chaparro was a commander. Batiz himself was also called in, repeatedly, by SEBIN operatives, who demanded that he presented himself in their offices to be questioned about his sources.

Unlike Snowden, Batiz is not revealing secret official surveillance plans (but it's about time someone blew the whistle on how Venezuela spies on its own people). Instead, Batiz is publicising corruption in the billions of dollars, in a country with a government supposedly devoted to the poor. Batiz's rights have not been respected. His work has been sought to be discredited, not in the press as would happen in true democracies, but by a private security company working in cahoots with the country's intelligence services, while Derwick Associates used its contacts with high government officials to have the country's intelligence services act as its private security contractors. Imagine the front page coverage in America if a private security firm partnered with the FBI, without official sanction, to persecute Glenn Greenwald, hack his email, track his car, harrass his mother, and bring him in for questioning. Not for publishing the government's surveillance system, but for exposing theft and graft. That's the Venezuela that Snowden respects...

7 July 2013

What's the story about Roberto Pannunzi's Venezuelan ID?

Roberto Pannunzi (photo AP)
Colombia's Ministry of Defence informed today that Roberto Pannunzi, a boss linked to Calabria's 'Ndrangheta mafiosi was captured in Bogotá, in a joint operation between Colombia's Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Colombia's Ministry of Defence states in its report that Pannunzi identified himself with a fake Venezuelan ID -on the name of Silvano Martino- when arrested in a shopping mall in the north of Bogotá.

However, Venezuelan Twitter user @InformadorVeraz, reported that Silvano Martino's Venezuelan ID (22.183.207) appears in the National Electoral roll (Registro Electoral). So the question, to Colombia's Ministry of Defence is: how can it be argued that Pannunzi's Venezuelan ID was fake, when it appears as registered in Venezuela's electoral roll?

@InformadorVeraz weighs in, asking whether Colombia's Ministry of Defence is claiming that people with fake IDs can register to vote in Venezuela's electoral roll:

4 July 2013

Open letter to Edward Snowden

Dear Edward,

it must be hard for you, to realise that beyond the chorus of celebrations from radical fringes of the political spectrum for what you've done, real-politik always trumps naive behaviour.

You probably don't not know this, but I happen to have come across some of the actors involved in your current existencial dilemma. In 2008, I was working as VP Operations for the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), an NGO founded by a Venezuelan, like myself. One of the first things I did at the time was to travel to Ecuador, twice, to El Inca prison. You must be thinking why on earth I did that, and I'll tell you: I went to visit Orellana Governor Guadalupe Llori, a remarkable indigenous woman, leader of a left-leaning political movement, and former supporter of Rafael Correa. Guadalupe was democratically elected, just like Correa. She had a mandate from her constituents, just like Correa. But once he got to power, and started doing the very same things he had been criticising previous governments about, such as sending the army to crush dissent, Guadalupe rebelled. And she did because the province in which she was elected Governor (Orellana) was at the centre of oil workers protests about appalling working conditions, lack of infrastructure, contamination, etc. After Correa's decision to send in the army, Guadalupe referred to him in a local TV station as a brute.

"Fair comment" you may think. But Correa, a man who comes from a dysfunctional family and has a huge chip on his shoulder, decided to accuse Guadalupe of being a "terrorist" and had her thrown in jail, for almost 10 months. In that jail I visited her, twice. I still have at home two dolls that she made while there and gave me for my children. I was the only representative of a human rights NGO, whether local or international, to have visited her in jail to raise awareness about the injustice of her case. Thanks to HRF's campaign Guadalupe was freed and cleared of all charges for lack of evidence. But she was forcibly removed from her democratically-elected office on trumped charges. This was only one of two women in the entire American continent at the time -the other being Sarah Palin- to hold such office. The episode, as you may imagine, was a huge embarrassment for Correa and his regime.

Then I was asked to help organize the first ever Oslo Freedom Forum, a human rights conference produced by the HRF. I was there, in its first year, 2009. In 2010, while I was no longer employed by HRF, I did follow the proceedings, and heard Guadalupe give thanks for what we did to help her out. Curiously, that year, your handler Julian Assange, was one of the speakers invited to the Oslo Freedom Forum. This was before he had those issues in Sweden, and the Manning leaks. So let me tell you that Assange must have read, at the very least, about Guadalupe and what Correa had done to her in the conference prospectus. I guess you can imagine my surprise when I learned that Julian was hiding in Ecuador's Embassy in London.

Julian, I have been able to determine, is far from being this admirable advocate for transparency, rule of law, democracy, and freedom. His actions, since his decision of seeking asylum from Correa, speak volumes about his true nature. When I first heard about you I thought "wow, good thing that this guy alerted about that so a proper debate on the subject can be had." But then, like Julian before you, you showed up in Hong Kong, from there you flew to Russia, from where you said you wanted to go elsewhere, to Ecuador, which I've already talked about, Cuba, where I've also been visiting those prosecuted by the communist Castro dictators, and Venezuela, my country. Now let me tell you this Edward, none of your current handlers knows a tenth of what goes on in my country. That includes Julian. He may have, for expediency and survival reasons, entered into some sort of marriage of convenience with Rafael Correa's regime. While I am no expert in Ecuador I most certainly am in Venezuela.

In Venezuela, a journalist investigating a company that got power contracts from the State illegally gets visit from intelligence and security forces; his mother gets menacing calls; his car and house get bugged and he suffers all kinds of harassment. I'm not even talking about secrets of State Edward, like those you're revealing. No. A journalist simply doing his job and trying to keep those who grant public contracts honest. A judge, also doing her job and following the letter of the law to the t, gets sent to prison on the whims of the president. Ditto police officers. Let's say, for argument sake, that you are Venezuelan, or Ecuadorian, or Cuban, and you want to leak the stuff you got to the media in Venezuela, or Ecuador, or Cuba. You should first identify to which media, right? To maximise exposure? Well, let me tell you this, there is not one single media outlet of national reach in those countries that would, today, publish State secrets likes the one you have. Not one. If you happen to have stuff that exposes the opposition, or private companies, then yes, there are many places you could go. In fact, until very recently, there was this guy in Venezuela called Mario Silva, he had a prime time program in one of the State channels in which playing out illegally obtained phone recordings were daily occurrences. No one is prosecuted for that, in fact it is pretty much encouraged by the highest authorities. There's nowhere to got get redress for the courts are but an appendix of the regime. You are disgusted by what the government of your country does to spy your countrymen, what on earth do you think happens in Venezuela? Or in Cuba? Or in Russia? Or in China? Do you honestly think personal freedoms are more respected in my country? Do you honestly think you stand a better chance in a court of law in my country?

You are meant to be a former intelligence analist so you must be aware of these things. If you aren't, then the US intelligence apparatus is at an unsurmountable loss. You must have heard, learned or come across about such activities. It's common knowledge. It's been all over the media, aligned or not. From where do you think Cuba picked up its spying program? From PRISM? Or do I need to tell you about the Stasi? A Russian whistleblower was poisoned in a cafe in London not long ago, did you hear about him? That was Alexander Litvinenko. Did you hear about the guy who exposed tax corruption? That was Sergei Magnitsky. How about Cuba, have you heard something, anything in fact, about what happens to people locked in prisons located on the other side of the fence in Guantanamo?

I guess what I'm trying to get at Edward, from someone that has done some very minor leaking, is this: if you are moral enough to recognise when your government is doing wrong, and act upon it, be moral enough to recognise that your current partners/advisors are anything but an example to follow. If you are running away from a country where the government spies on its people, the last place you'd want to go should be Ecuador, or China, or Russia, or Cuba, or Venezuela. I mean, c'mon! Your public stance on this particular issue has the credibility of a campaigner for personal freedoms called Joseph Fritzl.

So I guess the best piece of advice I could give you is drop immediately Julian and his counsel. As the Times wrote yesterday, a man holed up in a cupboard for over a year in the Ecuadorian Embassy is hardly a legitimate advisor on how to avoid being trapped.

As per your alleged intentions of going to my country, or to Ecuador or Cuba, let me warn you: the moment you become a nuisance, or your presence is no longer politically expedient, the rulers of those countries won't hesitate for a second to dispose of you. There will be no media taking up your case, no human rights NGO exerting pressure for those regime allege sovereignty to wipe their arses with all international conventions. The jails in those countries are far, far worse from what your mind can even begin to picture. Once in one of those, you won't be able to claim anything about human rights, due process, etc., and your life will be absolutely worthless. You may think, after what happened to Manning, that going back to your country is out of the question. If you allow me to be crude in the extreme, I'd say Manning is alive, he didn't die, he wasn't killed. In all those other countries you may well become the next Sergei Magnitsky, or the next Franklin Brito.

Best,
Alek

El canal chino de Nicaragua: una gigantesca estafa

Me permito publicar aqui artículo aparecido en Semana sobre el canal interoceánico que la empresa de maletín china HKND supuestamente va a construir en Nicaragua.

El canal chino de Nicaragua: una gigantesca estafa

Por Fanny Kertzman y Alek Boyd

MUNDOEn el proyecto podrían robarse las reservas internacionales del empobrecido país.

El canal chino de Nicaragua: una gigantesca estafa. .
.
Foto: SEMANA
A los nicaragüenses no les sonó desconocido el nombre de Wang Jing cuando, el pasado 14 de junio, el Presidente Daniel Ortega anunció su denominación como el socio con quien Nicaragua iba a construir el sueño del Gran Canal Interoceánico. 

Ya en noviembre de 2012 el gobierno nicaragüense le había adjudicado a la empresa china Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group (Ver sitio) la tercera licencia de telefonía celular. Wang Jing es el "chairman" de dicha compañía. A pesar de que se presentaron siete compañías a la licitación, esta supuestamente se amañó para que ganara Xinwei, al estipular que el oferente debería tener experiencia en bandas 3G y 4G con el estándar ITU-RM 1801-1 que, curiosamente, solo se utiliza en China y el suroeste asiático.

Rápidamente corrieron los rumores sobre la manipulación de los términos de la licitación y los vínculos entre Wang Jing y Laureano Ortega, hijo del Presidente y a quien se asocia con la agencia de inversión ProNicaragua. Se rumora que el precio de la concesión se bajó de 90 millones de dólares a 20 millones. Xinwei prometió invertir 700 millones de dólares en la primera etapa del proyecto y 2.000 millones en 2015. Se planeaba proveer servicios de voz, datos, video, trunking y acceso a internet. Hasta la fecha no se ha tendido un solo cable. En la supuesta sede de la compañía en Managua hay solo cuatro empleados nicaragüenses que tienen prohibido dar cualquier información.

En su website Xinwei anuncia que son los proveedores número uno del mundo de 4G con su tecnología McWill. Supuestamente son proveedores de servicios en 20 países. Pero cuando se visita el sitio web de McWill (www.mcwill.net) para saber en qué consiste la tecnología que conquistó al mundo en 4G, los vínculos no funcionan. Es una fachada solamente. En realidad, analizando la página web de Xinwei es imposible saber a ciencia cierta qué es lo que hacen.

Dado el éxito de la concesión de comunicaciones, el "empresario" Wang Jing y Daniel Ortega decidieron unirse para construir el Gran Canal Interoceánico de Nicaragua, en el cual se invertirán 40.000 millones de dólares. Wang Jing montó la empresa HKND Group (Ver sitio) en noviembre pasado y firmó un contrato con Ortega donde, en forma increíble, el Banco Central de Nicaragua renuncia a la inmunidad soberana (Ver Anexo 6 del acuerdo) a favor de Wang Jing. 

El día anterior al anuncio, la Asamblea nicaragüense aprobó una Ley que viabilizaba el controvertido 
contrato, otorgado a dedo y sin ningún tipo de licitación. El Acuerdo tiene más de cien páginas donde estipula, entre otros, que"..en consideración de los beneficios mutuos que se derivan del ... Gran Canal Interoceánico de Nicaragua....el Banco Central de Nicaragua (el "Banco Central") acepta irrevocable e incondicionalmente...renunciar a cualquier derecho de inmunidad soberana que pudiese tener, y se compromete a no invocar la inmunidad en ningún procedimiento". "El Banco Central de manera irrevocable e incondicional....renuncia [a] cualquier derecho de inmunidad soberana......con relación al reconocimiento, exigibilidad o ejecución de cualquier sentencia....incluyendo... la renuncia...respecto a gravamen o ejecución contra cualquiera de sus bienes... (Incluyendo cualquiera de sus cuentas bancarias, ya sea a nombre propio o no) y donde sea que estuviere ubicada".

Esto quiere decir, nada más y nada menos, que el Banco Central de Nicaragua renuncia a la soberanía sobre las reservas internacionales y se las puede entregar a Wang Jing y sus asociados, quienes fuera que sean. Para desgracia de los beneficiarios, estas ascienden a sólo 1.885 millones de dólares. Como referencia, las reservas internacionales de Colombia son del orden de los 40.000 millones dólares, el costo total propuesto del proyecto del Canal.

El "Patrocinador", como se le llama a Wang Jing en el contrato, es liberado de toda responsabilidad contractual, impuestos, derechos de importación e IVA para sus compras dentro y fuera de Nicaragua. No existen impuestos tampoco para los empleados y la ley laboral no aplica.

Pero como para construir el canal y todas las obras adicionales que se anuncian -canal seco, un oleoducto, un aeropuerto, un puerto en el Caribe, un puerto en el Pacífico, una zona de libre comercio en el Atlántico y otra en el Pacífico- se deben comprar tierras y propiedades, el acuerdo le otorga al Patrocinador "el derecho irrestricto de usar la tierra, aire y espacio marítimo...donde se desarrollarán los trabajos de construcción...derechos irrestrictos para...extraer, almacenar y usar el agua y todos los otros recursos naturales ... y.... entregarle al Patrocinador títulos libres de gravamen de todas las propiedades... sin contraprestación alguna a cambio". De manera que no solo se entregan las magras reservas internacionales, sino que el señor Jing y sus asociados pueden expropiar cualquier propiedad o terreno en Nicaragua, sea de un particular o del Estado.

Lo que Colombia percibió como un acto de agresión, la construcción del canal interoceánico que desembocaría en aguas territoriales colombianos, que era parte del complot del fallo de La Haya, no es más que una gran estafa ideada probablemente por los círculos más altos del gobierno, "socio" en este proyecto, para robarse los pocos recursos que le quedan a Nicaragua, el país más pobre de Centro América.

Wang Jing también se había comprometido con otros proyectos, como la construcción y lanzamiento del satélite Nicasat-1, que costará 300 millones de dólares y cuya construcción debería haber empezado para marzo de este año.  Tampoco se ha visto actividad en ese frente. No se sabe si se ha pagado suma alguna.

A pesar de que se ha dicho que Wang es una fachada del gobierno chino, lo cierto es que Nicaragua tiene relaciones diplomáticas con Taiwan y no con China continental.

La empresa promotora del Canal HKND (Ver sitio) fue creada en Islas Cayman el 7 de noviembre de 2012. El sitio web dice que tiene amplia experiencia en construcción. Según dice la escritura es una unidad de HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., Ltd. de Hong Kong, compañía que a su vez registra un capital de 1200 dólares. Wang Jing es el único miembro de junta y la secretaría la ejerce una firma de abogados. La dirección de contacto es el hotel Four Seasons de Hong Kong. 

Se supone que los estudios de factibilidad los hará McKinsey y figura Stefan Matzinger como consultor. Li Chuan es el abogado vinculado a la firma  Kirkland & Ellis International LLP en Shangai que presta los servicios legales y Ronald  MacLean-Abaroa, un ex diplomático boliviano, encabeza las relaciones públicas. Este ha manifestado públicamente que no sabe quiénes son los socios del señor Wang Jing en el proyecto. O tal vez lo sabe y no lo puede decir. 

3 July 2013

Who is Wang Jing? Man behind Nicaragua's canal project is as dodgy as they come.

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega (left) and Wang Jing.
BBC Mundo reported on 13 June: "La Asamblea Nacional de Nicaragua aprobó, por 61 votos a favor, 25 en contra y una abstención, la construcción de un canal similar al de Panamá, que una los océanos Atlántico y Pacífico." Translation: "Nicaragua's Congress approved by 61 votes for, 25 against, and 1 abstention the construction of an interoceanic canal similar to Panama's." Understandably, given its geopolitical significance, an avalanche of news followed. Nearly all reports written on the topic since have questioned Nicaragua's choice of partner: a Chinese individual called Wang Jing. More from the BBC: "The Chinese businessman behind a $40bn (£26bn) plan to build a canal through Nicaragua has promised transparency and insisted his project is not a joke."

$40 billion... Tranparency... Joke... Let's see. Wang Jing is the face of an entity called HKND Group Holdings Ltd, a Cayman Islands-registered venture. Please do note the registration date: 7 November 2012.

Reuters reports that Wang Jing's Cayman Islands' HKND "is a unit of HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., Ltd.", so I went to Hong Kong register to find out more about HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., Ltd (HKND). As it turns, the Hong Kong-registered "investment company" is a 10,000 Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) vehicle, whose registered office is Suites 1801-1807, 2 International Finance Centre, Hong Kong. Wang Jing is the sole director and Conson Secretarial Ltd was appointed as secretary.

Having failed to find a directory of companies at 2 International Finance Centre, I called the concierge and was told that due to "privacy issues" no information about their tenants can be given. The concierge refused to confirm whether HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., Ltd. had offices in that building. When I asked whether it was a secret which companies had rented offices at 2 International Finance Centre, the lady told me that if I wanted to know, I had to go there in person and check in the buildings' board. So much for transparency...

So Wang Jing's HKND, a $1,200 venture registered just two weeks before a memorandum of understanding was signed (5 September 2012), was "identified" by Nicaragua's Interoceanic Authority as "the most adequate partner" to carry out a $40 billion project to rival the Panama Canal. For the purpose of the project, HKND acquired in April 2013  Nicaragua's Empresa Desarrolladora de Grandes Infraestructuras S.A. Of note, the fact that Jing's Cayman Islands' venture was created after the MoU was signed.

But who is this Wang Jing? What is his track record in the infrastructure and engineering field?

Wang Jing is meant to be the boss of Xinwei, a telecoms company formerly owned by State-owned Datang Telecom. Hong Kong records show that he resides at no. 3001, unit 1, Building no. 3, FANGQUNYUAN YI QU, in Beijing's Fengtai District. He says he lives with his mother. As per archive.org records, Jing's first reference as chairman of Xinwei appears in Xinwei's website in March 2010. By that time Xinwei had been taken to private hands, although a few photo ops with leaders of China's Communist Party visiting pepper Xinwei's website. Xinwei appears to have patented a system called McWill, which it claims to be "the only commercialized 4G technology in the world." Xinwei claims that said technology is used in more than 20 countries. Mcwill's site was registered by Gang Huang from Beijing Holland, a Chinese purveyor to the "cable & wire industry as well as electrical equipment industry." Certainly, the "world's leader in 4G technology" website leaves a lot to be desired.

Jing, who refused to say what university he had attended, claims to have made his money mining in Cambodia. As far as our research goes, there's no evidence of such activities. Anywhere. Jing has said that international investors will come up with required funds ($40 billion), but has failed to name a single investor. Feasibility studies are meant to be conducted by McKinsey & Co, while other individuals, such as Li Chuan of Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, Bill Wild, and Ronald MacLean-Abaroa were part of Jing's entourage in Nicaragua.

While Jing claims that China's Railway Construction will also participate in conducting feasibility work, there's no official evidence to that. Anywhere. Furthermore, reports in Chinese media warn that the project is fraught with risks, and most likely unviable, given its geopolitical significance. The argument, in short, goes that the US government is not about to allow China to build and control an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua.

The most shocking aspect of this issue is not even Jing's lack of credentials, track record and funds. But rather the way in which Daniel Ortega, the utterly corrupt and pedophile President of Nicaragua has renounced his country's sovereignty in this deal (see annexes in agreement below). The plans include, in addition, construction of the following:
  • An oil pipe;
  • An airport;
  • Related infrastructure;
  • A port in the Caribbean;
  • A port in the Pacific;
  • A free trade zone in the Caribbean coast;
  • A free trade zone in the Pacific coast;
  • A dry canal;
  • A wet canal.
Nicaraguans are, understandably, incensed by this. In telecoms, which is meant to be Jing's "area of expertise", Nicaragua also granted him a license as mobile phones services provider in January 2013. Jing said that his Xinwei would invest $2 billion, $700 million in the first year. As of today, not one line has been offered and the company has no presence in that market. How could Jing, a man without track record in similar projects and with a couple of companies whose capital probably don't exceed $10,000, make the government of Nicaragua agree to a 50-year (plus renewable periods) deal? How could the government of Nicaragua agree to rubber stamp an agreement where it is claimed that Jing's company "has plenty of power and corporate capacity to fulfil its obligations and execute its plans"? How will Jing come up with $40 billion, if, as widely reported, the Chinese State is not behind him? Why would Nicaragua renounce -irrevocably and unconditionally- the sovereignty of its Central Bank in relation to this project? Why would Nicaragua give a little known Chinese man the power to expropriate whatever private property he wishes? I beg to differ with Jing: unless China provides backing this project is a joke.



1 July 2013

Locking Horn[e]s with Rafael Correa and his idiotic agents

UPDATE*: "Rafael Correa not considering Snowden asylum: helping him was a 'mistake'Imagine my surprise yesterday when I got an email, with the subject "investigating the SENAIN" from Bethany Horne. "Right" I thought, "let the farce begin." Horne works for Ecuador's El Telegrafo, a State owned propaganda outlet. I must admit that the woman has some cheek, but decided to engage anyway. Below our exchange in full.

From: Bethany Horne <bethanybhorne@gmail.com>
Subject: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 30 June 2013 22:24:00 BST
To: alek.boyd@gmail.com

Hi Alek,

I'm putting together a master file of the leaked documents this week about the SENAIN programs in Ecuador and other surveillance activity. I was wondering if you have any documents you did not post to your blog but which are related to this investigation? It's been somewhat complicated getting some since Scribd and Dropbox took down some of Rosie Gray's, so I just want to make sure I didn't miss any: are you willing to send me what you have? 

Let me know, thanks,

Bethany Horne
(593) 99 3222810

From: Alek Boyd <alek.boyd@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 1 July 2013 05:53:16 BST
To: Bethany Horne <bethanybhorne@gmail.com>

Hi Bethany,

Thanks for your message. 

May I ask who are you, what media outlet you work for or where do you normally publish, and what are you planning to do with the SENAIN files?

Regards,
--
Alek Boyd

From: "Bethany Horne" <groundhog593@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 1 July 2013 07:52:14 BST
To: "Alek Boyd" <alek.boyd@gmail.com>

I'm a Canadian freelance reporter, I'm working on a piece for the International Business Times...I won't be re-publishing the documents in that piece, I just want to read them. 

From: Alek Boyd <alek.boyd@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 1 July 2013 08:24:52 BST
To: Bethany Horne <groundhog593@gmail.com>

Hi Bethany,

why wouldn't you republish the documents? Are they not interesting enough for International Business Times' readers?

You can access them through my piece for Colombia's Semana:  


Let me know if you have problems with the language.

Best,
Alek

From: "Bethany Horne" <groundhog593@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 1 July 2013 08:29:51 BST
To: "Alek Boyd" <alek.boyd@gmail.com>

Because my story isn't about the documents, I do want to read them as background though. I wouldn't re-attach them as they're not mine, they're yours, but I would link to you for reference. 

I'm fluent in Spanish, I was hoping you could send them as attachments. I actually don't see any PDFs or raw documents in that Semana article you sent. 

From: Alek Boyd <alek.boyd@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 1 July 2013 08:40:12 BST
To: "Bethany Horne" <groundhog593@gmail.com>

HI Bethany,

What's the story about? What interest have you got in Ecuador? And how come you're fluent in Spanish if you're Canadian?

The first batch of docs is linked in the Semana article I sent you. But if you couldn't see them, here's the link:


Best,
Alek

From: Bethany Horne <groundhog593@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 1 July 2013 08:43:42 BST
To: Alek Boyd <alek.boyd@gmail.com>

I grew up in part in Ecuador because my parents were missionaries. The story is about Ecuador surveillance and security in general, in the context of inviting the world's most wanted man to live within these borders. 

Thanks for the link

From: Alek Boyd <alek.boyd@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: investigating the SENAIN
Date: 1 July 2013 08:48:43 BST
To: Bethany Horne <groundhog593@gmail.com>

Hi Bethany,

How do you mean by "inviting the world's most wanted man to live within these borders"?

Are you referring to Julian Assange or to Edward Snowden? If it is Snowden, did Correa did not distance himself from the whole affair after it was revealed that the salvoconducto issued in London turned up to be unauthorised?

Best,
Alek

---End of exchange---

What do they say about giving enough rope? For it is worth bearing in mind that Horne is basically a paid hack of Rafael Correa, perhaps an Eva Golinger in the works? When I wrote "May I ask who are you, what media outlet you work for or where do you normally publish" her reply was as dishonest as the regime she works for: "I'm a Canadian freelance reporter, I'm working on a piece for the International Business Times..." And, again, it's worth mentioning, this woman was all over Twitter questioning the journalistic integrity of Rosie Gray. Horne says her parents were missionaries In Ecuador, evidently the zeal got passed on. But what to make of her research skills, something which she also mocked Rosie Gray about? How come she couldn't find the batch of documents I published, when in fact she had attacked Buzzfeed for claiming an exclusive of stuff I had published first?

After I posted the leaks about Ecuador surveillance purchases and how it's intelligence agency monitors critics and journalists, some idiot tried one of the oldest tricks in the hacking book: 4 emails from "Gmail", sent from accounts-noreply <accounts-noreply@team.com>, with a link to http://registro-des.hol.es to "reset" my password.

Irrelevant Max Blumenthal (Government of Norway's and Amnesty International's dictum) came with another desperate attempt to take Correa's surveillance program to obscurantism, by producing another idiotic conspiracy theory entitled "Dark Forces Behind the Snowden Smears". Blumenthal is not someone recognised for his journalistic integrity, perhaps that's the reason why he didn't include in his latest crackpot conspiracy the fact that Edward Snowden started smearing himself a long time ago.

But the funniest part of this pathetic Ecuadorian drama, is that Correa ordered his minions to give a press conference where the existence of surveillance equipment is admitted while leaked information about it is claimed to be fake; a 24-hour ultimatum was given to "demonstrate" that his regime taps phones; Correa himself came on Twitter to declare that the 24-hour period had finished, and therefore as no proof had been presented its was "demonstrated" that it was all a lie; in the meanwhile a one-man-band sort of company operating out of Barcelona that sends spurious copyright infringement notices to critics of Rafael Correa got leaked documents published by Buzzfeed yanked from Scribd (wasn't the official line that docs were fake? How can anyone claim copyright infringement over fake documents?). Mind you what an excellent demonstration of Correa's idiocy and that of his agents.

UPDATE: not even a day has passed, and Rafael Correa admits to The Guardian's Rory Carroll that helping Snowden was a mistake, as I said to Bethany Horne "salvoconducto issued in London turned up to be unauthorised". Correa and his minions are definitely the gift that keeps on giving.

28 June 2013

Banco del Pacifico payment to 500 Smart Solutions for Ecuador's surveillance program

Two days ago I posted some documents about a surveillance programme set up by Ecuador's Intelligence Agency (Secretaría Nacional de Inteligencia or SENAIN). It was fitting to post such information given news about Edward Snowden's alleged decision to get political asylum in Ecuador. As things stand, Snowden is still in Putinland, Ecuador is still willing to relinquish millions of dollars worth of preferential trade with the USA, and Wikileaks still hasn't published leaked documents about pervasive surveillance programs set up by Rafael Correa's regime in Ecuador. But I got more intel on the whole scheme (see below), specifically details about Banco del Pacifico's $2,925,000 wire transfer to Bank Leumi's former address at Graybar Lexington Av. in New York, account no. 0547946601, whose beneficiary is 500 Smart Solutions LLC, one of a shell group of companies set up by Gabriel Guecelevich for the purpose of selling Israeli's latest surveillance and phone tapping technology to Ecuador.

In addition, Ecuadorian sources have informed me that the $200,000 wire transfer from 500 Smart Solutions LLC to Goldman Holdings Inc. in Panama (see below), is a kickback payment from Guecelevich to Pablo Romero Quezada, Chief of Ecuador's Intelligence Agency SENAIN. Ecuadorian sources added that Romero Quezada receives frequent bribes through that company, registered by Morgan & Morgan proxies, and Romero Quezada's lawyer, Roberto Gonzalez Torre, would be the man in charge behind the proxies.



En Revista Semana: Rafael Correa también espía a sus ciudadanos

Ayer la prestigiosa Revista Semana de Colombia publicó un articulo sobre cómo el regimen de Rafael Correa espía a los ecuatorianos, en base a información publicada en este blog.

Rafael Correa también espía a sus ciudadanos

POR: FANNY KERTZMAN Y ALEK BOYD

EXCLUSIVOMientras Ecuador defiende a Assange y Snowden, se descubre que en 2012 adquirió modernos equipos de espionaje.


Mientras el gobierno de Rafael Correa le ofrece asilo a Edward Snowden, acusado de espionaje por el gobierno estadounidense y pedido en extradición a Rusia, donde se encuentra actualmente, en agosto del año pasado el gobierno compró a una compañía israelí, pero registrada en Estados Unidos, equipos de interceptación y escucha de llamadas y comunicaciones por teléfono celular.

La inversión total fue mínima, 5,5 millones de dólares, si se compara con la capacidad de los equipos. Obtuvimos en exclusiva los documentos que soportan toda la operación.

Los equipos fueron vendidos por una compañía constituida para esta transacción, llamada 500 Smart Solutions LLC., registrada en el estado de Delaware (EE. UU.) y dirigida por Gabriel Guecelevich. El representante del gobierno ecuatoriano en la transacción fue Pablo Romero Quezada, secretario nacional de Inteligencia. El equipo es calificado como “Sistema semi activo interceptor GSM y Sistema pasivo de vigilancia”.

Las capacidades del sistema interceptor de llamadas de teléfonos móviles son descritas por Guecelevich con lujo de detalles: clonan los celulares en tiempo real sin el acceso físico a la tarjeta SIM y sin necesidad de la cooperacion del operador; identifica llamadas entrantes y salientes, cambia de ruta las llamadas salientes y las envía a otro destino e intercepta mensajes de texto (SMS) a la entrada y salida.

Así mismo, el operador del sistema es capaz de definir el remitente de SMS, puede desconectar las llamadas interceptadas, soporta USSD -cualquier tipo de servicio telefónico que requiere de la combinación de teclas * y #-, no requiere la inserción de la SIM en el sistema de monitoreo, es capaz de operar en redes 3G, intercepta hasta 4 llamadas simultáneamente y monitorea los teléfonos en diferentes redes al mismo tiempo es capaz de interceptar eficazmente todos los teléfonos disponibles en el mercado.

Por si fuera poco también bloquea comunicaciones de teléfonos previamente especificados, ningún SMS o llamada telefónica podrá ser recibidas ni discada por los aparatos bloqueados mientras todos los otros celulares en el área siguen con comunicación normal. El sistema es capaz de realizar continuamente un servicio de localizador de aparato (objetivo) en cualquier canal deseado e incluye un dispositivo portátil para teléfonos UMTS (3G) que permite determinar la localización de los teléfonos por medio de indicaciones visuales y de audio, además de permitir la operación encubierta.

Sorprendentemente el sistema sería capaz de activar el micrófono del teléfono con el fin de escuchar el audio en las proximidades del mismo, graba las llamadas, tiene dispositivo de rastreo que se puede ocultar en un bolso o mochila "portátil y pequeño, de aspecto inocente" y permite la detección del objetivo con la señal de llamada en silencio. Puede trabajar desde un automóvil a una distancia de 250 metros, tiene un receptor de identidad para llamadas entrantes, puede clonar un teléfono y descifra encripción A5.1 y A5.2 en tiempo real, entre otras muchas capacidades.

El pago

Guecelevich solicitó inicialmente un pago de 50.000 dólares por la conducción de programas pilotos para determinar la operatividad de los sistemas. Después en oficio del Secretaría Nacional de Inteligencia ecuatoriana (Senain), con el identificador D-S-0031-2013, Romero Quezada informó a Guecelevich la decisión de la Secretaría de adquirir “el referido equipamiento” por 526.500 dólares.

En otro oficio secreto, identificado como SENAIN-CINF-S-135-2012, Jose Miguel Delgado, quien funge como Coordinador General de Infocomunicaciones y Proyectos Especiales de Senain, pregunta a Guecelevich si su empresa esta en disposición de proveer “aeronaves UAV” (vehículos aéreos no tripulados). La partida asignada para la compra por el gobierno ecuatoriano fue de 5,5 millones de dólares.

Entre los documentos obtenidos se encuentran también reportes de monitoreo de redes sociales y comentarios de periodistas y ciudadanos del común críticos de Rafael Correa y Nicolás Maduro, realizados por la Secretaría Nacional de Inteligencia.

Mientras tanto, el gobierno ecuatoriano renunció unilateralmente y de manera irrevocable al Tratado de Preferencias Arancelarias con Estados Unidos (Atpdea). El miércoles, legisladores estadounidenses habían advertido que bloquearían la renovación de las preferencias si Correa concedía asilo político a Snowden. El programa caducaba el próximo 31 de julio.

El secretario de Comunicaciones, Fernando Alvarado, señaló que Ecuador ofrecía a los Estados Unidos los 23 millones de dólares anuales de los que se beneficiaba con el ATPDEA para "brindar capacitación en derechos humanos para ayudar a combatir tortura".

El 58 % de las exportaciones no tradicionales ecuatorianas tienen como destino Estados Unidos. Generan 400.000 empleos en un país de 14 millones de habitantes. Ecuador era el único país andino que continuaba con el sistema de preferencias, creado como apoyo en la lucha contra el narcotráfico, puesto que Colombia y Perú ya tienen acuerdos de libre comercio, y Bolivia fue excluida en 2008.

Con esta decisión se perjudican los productores de productos claves como las flores, atún y brocoli. El 97 % de la producción de brócoli, por ejemplo, se exporta a Estados Unidos. Los productores son monocultivadores de la región indígena de la Sierra central, que incluye las provincias de Cotopaxi, Pichincha, Imbabura, Carchi y Chimborazo.

Rafael Correa ha tomado una decisión que perjudica a todo el pueblo ecuatoriano por defender a los "adalides de la libertad de expresión", Julian Assange y Edward Snowden. Mientras tanto no solo pasó su ley "mordaza" a la prensa, sino que irónicamente es culpable del mismo pecado que denunció Snowden: el espionaje del gobierno a sus ciudadanos.

26 June 2013

Venezuela: appointment of Max Arvelaiz one for the annals of "you just can make this shit up"

Frenchman Maximilien Arvelaiz,
Maduro's Commissioner for Interna-
tional Relations.
So today I was reading about a new appointment by our illegitimate and half-illiterate President Nicolas Maduro: Venezuela's international relations will be in the hands of Maximilien Sanchez Arvelaiz, aka Max Arvelaiz. What's the news? Arvelaiz was not even born in Venezuela, he is, in fact, French. Beyond the considerations of putting the chavista diplomacy in the hands of a foreigner -however converted he/she may be- there are a few ironies about this affair.

Hugo Chavez, the late putschist, spent the best part of his life decrying attempts against "Venezuelan sovereignty". One has to guess that it's perfectly revolutionary to appoint a totally ill prepared Frenchman to conduct chavista diplomacy, though in chavista circles one with postgraduate studies in London must be like Einstein hanging out with cavemen.

Noticing that Arvelaiz's cedula starts with 23 million, I searched around and came about an article he co-published in Al Giordano's site -yeah, the clown from Narco News- with the following bit of news:
Paul Emile-Dupret is an advisor to the European Parliament from Belgium who, in his role as human rights observer, was shot 41 times last summer by rogue pro-coup police forces in Caracas. Thierry Deronne, also Belgian, is a journalist with TV Tambores, a Community Television station in Venezuela. Max Arvelaiz, a French native of Venezuelan descent, is a communications consultant to the Chavez government. Arvelaiz and Deronne are professors of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism. These three internationally respected European leaders are in Venezuela this week in their respective roles, and collaborated on this report to give readers this accurate account of current events in that country that are too often being distorted by the Commercial Media, including U.S. newspaper and wire correspondents.
Already in 2002, Arvelaiz was dizque "professor... communications consultant to the Chavez government". Right, more like good mates with Temir Porras while both were desperately trying to get on the chavista revolution milking-wagon... So there you have it, a Frenchman in charge of Nicolas Maduro's diplomacy. Chavistas seem to have a weak spot for foreign apologists: Greg Wilpert got Venezuelan citizenship after marrying to Maduro's current Consul in New York; Eva Golinger also got citizenship through illegal means after sucking it up to the robolución; Rodrigo Granda, the FARC commander involved in the assassination of Cecilia Cubas, also got Venezuelan citizenship; as did Arturo Cubillas, the wanted ETA terrorist married to Elias Jaua's PA... Maybe in the coming days we'll hear that Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky will be named as honorary Venezuelans!

And what to make of "Paul Emile-Dupret... shot 41 times last summer by rogue pro-coup police forces in Caracas?" Remember, this is Al Giordano, right? The one from the "school of authentic journalism"!! "Shot 41 times..." 41 fucking times!!! Perhaps someone should send Giordano's "school of authentic journalism" way a bit of an explanation about the difference between rubber bullets and regular ones...

25 June 2013

Re Edward #Snowden: read the info about Ecuador Assange's Wikileaks will not publish

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor on the run, is headed for Ecuador. A country with an exemplary attitude towards the press. He may, or may not, stop over in Cuba and Venezuela, two shining beacons of true freedom of expression. He's coming from Russia, another place where those who feel the urge of expressing themselves fully have the complete and most resolute backing from the State. Some have taken Julian Assange's claim that he is helping Snowden out -from his hole in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge- at face value. But what Snowden, and those who are, rightly, incensed by the alleged erosion of civil liberties by PRISM will not read in Wikileaks anytime soon is this: Rafael Correa's Ecuadorian regime spies on its citizens in a way strikingly similar to what Snowden accuses the U.S. of doing, and don't get me started on what Cuba, Venezuela and Russia do on its helpless citizens. Here's the proof from Ecuador's National Intelligence Service (set of leaked docs here).

Letter from SENAIN (Ecuador's Intelligence Agency) communicating to 500 Smart Solutions LLC, a Delaware-registered provider of Israeli surveillance equipment run by Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich, that an acquisition contract for additional equipment -$526,000 worth- has been approved. 
Letter from SENAIN (Ecuador's Intelligence Agency) asking Smart Solution (500 Smart Solutions LLC), a Delaware-registered provider of Israeli surveillance equipment run by Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich, whether it can provide Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
Letter from SENAIN (Ecuador's Intelligence Service) to Smart Solution (500 Smart Solutions LLC), a Delaware-registered provider of Israeli surveillance equipment run by Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich, about dates and places where a pilot surveillance GSM test will be conducted.

There's a Gabriel Marcos Guecelevich cited in Argentina's official gazzette, DOB  7/5/1967, ID no. 18.340.715. Apparently Guecelevich was licensed -together with Kobi Reuven from Elkat Security Engineering LTD- by Israel's UVision Global Aero Systems to procure such technology to Ecuador. 


Then, there's the information about 500 Smart Solutions LLC, a Delaware-registered fly by night, presumably set up with the sole purpose of selling surveillance equipment to Rafael Correa's regime. Would this joint be FCPA compliant?



It's all very proper, isn't it in Ecuador? A country worthy of serious consideration by civil liberties' advocates seeking refuge from political persecution by the evil United States of America... In subsequent posts I shall be exposing wire transfers details and other relevant information about Ecuador's purchases of surveillance technology, and how it spies on its critics.

24 June 2013

Blog changes

Dear readers, I am in the process of revamping the whole blog. In its new version, it will continue focusing on Venezuela, but with a much broader investigative scope. Therefore, I would like to appeal to your generosity and ask for donations that will go towards costs involved in new design. Please click on the Paypal button and donate generously.

20 June 2013

Davos Financial Group bogus claims

Back in April, in the course of my research into the Boliburgeoisie, I came across a claim, a bold one, that left me gobsmacked: DAVOS Financial Group -owned by David Osio- was stating in its website that it had a "portfolio valued at over $1 trillion in assets under management of private and institutional clients." One trillion dollars. Wow. I made sure to take a screen shot and then tweeted: "David Osio claims his DAVOS bank has $1 trillion (?) under management. Is that where the bulk of Vzla's missing funds are? @davosobserver"

The reply was swift and also came through Twitter (as seen on left). DAVOS Financial Group said that their site "had been hacked by unscrupulous hands..." However archive.org paints a different picture, providing evidence that the hack lasted almost a year: that is to say, DAVOS did not realize that its website had been "compromised" since -at least- August 2012, as shown here. The $1 trillion claim was placed there by "unscrupulous hands" of hackers and no one at DAVOS had noticed, until I tweeted about it.

But DAVOS' oddities don't end there. In different literature to drum up new business, it claims that it has $2.8 billion under management. That's quite a discrepancy, no? From $1 trillion to $2.8 billion? In yet a different publication, DAVOS claims to "operate... under the supervision of international organizations, such as: ARIF (Switzerland), FINRA and FREC (United States), CNV (Panama)."

ARIF of Switzerland has no record of DAVOS Financial Group, but rather an entry for asset manager D. Société financière (Suisse) SA, which DAVOS claims is its "Swiss holding". Official Swiss records show that David Osio's control over D. Société has been revoked.

FINRA has also very interesting information on DAVOS. There are two individuals registered as investment advisors for DAVOS: Andres Coles and Adam Stramwasser. A search for DAVOS, as institution, returns two records, one for Florida and one for New York. But in the application for investment adviser registration there's question O, which reads: "Did you have $1 billion or more in assets on the last day of your most recent fiscal year?" In both cases  DAVOS answered in the negative. Therefore, DAVOS either misleads its potential customers in its prospectus, press releases and website or it misleads in its applications to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

When I asked DAVOS which financial authority regulated its activities, it replied through Carmen Monasterio:
In response to your question, please note that Davos  Financial Group operates as a financial advisory firm in regulated jurisdictions, and exclusively with front-line European and USA financial institutions. As a licensed and regulated company  our compliance polices are very strict, following the best practices, and under the permanent scrutiny of regulators of Switzerland, Europe and The United States. Our KYC procedures follow the highest standards, equal to those of our correspondent banks in Europe and the USA. Our executives are regularly instructed and certified in AML by FIBA and other prestigious institutions. 
I am sure DAVOS' AML compliance policies in Venezuela are "very strict", just like those of HSBC in Mexico. FIBA, which is a trade association and not an official financial watchdog, refused recently to provide information related to accreditations allegedly earned by DAVOS Financial Group staff, sending an unsigned reply to an information request I sent.

I understand DAVOS operates in different jurisdictions, so would the $1 trillion, or the $2.8 billion, refer to all assets in all jurisdictions? Further, why would DAVOS go to the trouble of registering in Florida and New York and have a couple of investment advisors registered in the U.S. to then place a warning in its website saying their services are not to be considered by U.S. residents?

David Osio is a U.S. resident as far as I understand, he has even donated to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Barack Obama campaigns. Is his company paying taxes on less than $1 billion, $2.8 billion, or $1 trillion?