29 April 2015

Derwick CEO Alejandro Betancourt acquires 10.29% of Pacific Rubiales

Background from Reuters.
Update: Bloomberg sort of confirms what I exposed, but lacks the integrity of describing Derwick's CFO (Orlando Alvarado) as Derwick CFO, claiming instead that Alvarado and his "partner" (boss Betancourt) are "private-sector businessmen with no ties to the government and prefer to remain anonymous"...

28 April 2015

Escotet takes a page out of Derwick's book

A visit last week by European Central Bank (ECB) readers to the profile I did on Juan Carlos Escotet took me down a rabit hole. First, repeating the Google search done by the ECB folks led me to discover that my http://infodio.com site had been hacked. Basically, someone sitting pretty in Uzbekistan, or who knows in what beyond-reach-of-Western-law-enforcement's-jurisdiction, uploaded a few files onto my server, hosted by Leaseweb in the Netherlands, to redirect all Google.com, .co.uk, .ca, and .com.au searches for related keywords to an online pharmacy selling Viagra, migraine medicine and another 35 or so products. Just to leave evidence, I recorded a short video.

Once I dealt with that, I came to learn that Escotet had taken half a page ad in a Spanish publication, to announce that he was suing El Confidencial, another media outlet (see below).

This is the sort of the stuff that one just can't come up with, one for the #youcantmakethisshitup series.

Escotet seems to have learned nothing from that other Venezuelan concern that likes to go around threatening journalists, bloggers and the free press with lawsuits. And how's that one turning up? Beyond the particular merits argued by the parties, one thing these Venezuelan thugs seem incapable of recording is that if you mess with the press -free press I mean, not the Venezuelan one- you scream for further probing / attention. And that's exactly what Escotet, who managed quite the coup with Abanca's acquisition, will get.

Members of the free press in Spain, not the ones fêted by Escotet to all expenses paid Caribbean trips, may discover that he lied through his teeth during Abanca's bidding process. They may find, for instance, Escotet's very own words about exchange rates (see below):
So Mr Escotet, think's Wall Street bankers are naïve because, erm, they use the same tricks he does to gain business. What a dishonest, two-bit thug. But what to make of his attack spread in Spain? Not long ago, in the context of claims that millions worth of bribes were paid to Diosdado Cabello by Derwick through Escotet's bank, he put out another spread, in Venezuela, saying his banks operated in 15 countries, and complied with regulations in all jurisdictions.  That's crock of course, but notice how he claims now that Abanca, the bank he bought in Spain, has gone, in the space of less than a year, from failed regional bank to announce more earnings than giant BBVA (Spain second largest), "over 2 million customers and operations in 8 countries." Bold the man is, we got to give him that.

Escotet's beaf with El Confidencial is due to what he perceives to be bad PR. El Confidencial recently published that SEPBLAC, Spain's Anti Money Laundering unit, is keenly investigating both him and his banks. If they follow down that rabit hole, they'll find a pandora world of corruption behind what's surely the wealthiest and most powerful group of operators in today's Venezuela. Having a commanding position in Venezuela's financial arena means that he has dealt with all the thugs, big and small, in the public and private sectors. In Venezuela he silences all but the most obstinate voices, of course, and not-yet-on-the-payroll journalists and independent media are promtly dealt with through the courts.

His clients at Derwick are also on the Slimification path: the latest is that they popped in Mexico -again #youcantmakethisshitup- as "investors" in some energy project. It takes some doing to launder all those ill gotten billions, though it would appear that time's running out for the Boliburgeoisie.

16 April 2015

Open Letter to Judge J. Paul Oetken re Derwick Associates

Dear Judge Oetken,

Thanks to my fellow blogger Steven Bodzin, I found out about the latest in the lawsuit brought against Derwick Associates that you are currently dealing with.

I have read most of the documents. The issue of strongest contention between the parties seems to be jurisdiction. Daimler vs Bauman is cited throughout, both in support and opposition to motion to dismiss.

While I am certain that strict rules of due process are applied to this lawsuit, I think it would be travesty if you ruled in favour to dismiss. You won't have trouble finding reason against such motion based on evidence provided by the very party desperately pleading for dismissal. And I am talking about public, readily available, evidence.

As an exercise, you could for instance challenge Betancourt's legal counsel to furnish publicly available evidence to back claim that he voted, presumably in Venezuela, "19 times in the two and a half year period" prior to this lawsuit's commencement in 2013.

You could also read claims made to the Wall Street Journal by one member of Derwick Associates' numerous legal team, Adam Kaufmann, former prominent Chief Investigator of New York's DA Office: "We are a transparent company and have nothing to hide."

Ask yourself: why would a "transparent company" with "nothing to hide" spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers, precisely and specifically, to stop information about its activities to become public? Does that strike you as "transparent"?

Furthermore, if we take Derwick's legal counsel's no-jurisdiction argument at face value, why is it so important for them to keep their activities in the USA hidden, if, indeed, they are a Venezuelan concern with no significant interests in the USA? Derwick's associations with US entities, such as ProEnergy Services, did not, in any way, hinder its ability to get public contracts in Venezuela. Quite the contrary. Having hundreds of millions of dollars in different US bank accounts, a considerable portfolio of US properties, US companies and investments, and bona fides from some of the US most reputed banks and law firms allowed Derwick to operate unconstrained from jurisdictional hurdles. In fact, had it not been for what could be termed as the very efficient American services industry, Derwick would have been unable to even acquire property in US soil. For Derwick did not produce letters from their banks in Venezuela, as guarantee for multimillion dollar property purchases. Derwick does not fly internationally in Venezuela-registered planes. Derwick did not execute its contracts by subcontracting Venezuelan, but American companies. As Pedro Trebbau admits, Derwick holds very little capital in Bolivares (Venezuela's official and only currency, subject to official currency controls) in Venezuelan banks.

But then, you must pay special attention to the fact that Derwick initiated legal proceedings against a Venezuelan bank, in New York courts in 2012. This Derwick did voluntarily, without coercion of any sort. No one forced Derwick to start a lawsuit in New York, and by doing so it not only admitted but actively sought the jurisdiction of New York courts to seek redress for a uniquely Venezuelan dispute: i.e. a defamation claim, brought by Derwick against a Venezuelan bank and its execs, for material published in Spanish, in a Venezuelan website, to a Venezuelan audience. Derwick decided to move its case subsequently to Florida, where it failed, spectacularly, at arguing its spurious defamation case successfully. Ultimately, Derwick's claim was dismissed with prejudice by a colleague of yours.

Ask yourself: how come New York court system was a valid venue, from a purely jurisdictional point of view, for Derwick to remedy a defamation case among Venezuelan parties in 2012, but it is not in 2013? I am sure you will agree that Derwick's non-jurisdiction argument is, quite simply, untenable.

Consider also the wider implications of granting a dismissal. As, arguably, Venezuela's foremost anti corruption blogger, I can assure you that there's not a chance of a scandal of this magnitude, that touches so many powerful figures of Venezuela's current government, to be heard in that country totally corrupt court system. Many of the actors involved in this saga are hugely powerful, so powerful in fact, that one of them managed to have Venezuela's Civil Code "reinterpreted" by the Supreme Court, so that a marriage ruling against him -obtained through fraud- was reverted. We are talking about the Chair of Venezuela's Congress, arguably the ruling party's top figure; we are talking about Venezuela's Ambassador to the UN, and former CEO of PDVSA and Minister of Energy; we are talking about owners of Venezuela's largest banks; we are talking about an international criminal organization, for these are not your regular defendants, but folks that, effectively, control Venezuela, for all intents and purposes a failed state.

It may sound impertinent coming from me, but you must put yourself in the proper geopolitical, historical and legal context when ruling time comes. If you are unaware of it, do ask to be briefed on FINCEN's or President Obama's Executive Order about Venezuela. Do find out, if you can, what is currently happening with Derwick Associates in New York's DA's office, the Security and Exchange Commission, Treasury Department, FBI, State Department, Homeland Security and DEA. If you could, check ramifications that touch Derwick, currently being investigated and exposed in Spain's media, with respect to laundering of billions of dollars in Spain and Andorra where actors associated with Derwick are involved. Only today, news broke about one of Derwick's bankers of choice having been singled out as a "priority target" by Spain's Anti Money Laundering Investigation Unit. Another of Derwick's bankers has been named in a Florida lawsuit that the Venezuelan State is bringing for misappropriation of millions of dollars, while a third, father in law of one of the defendants in your case, is actively collaborating with US law enforcement.

Your honour, understand that this is a historical opportunity.

Alek Boyd

8 April 2015

London's Met Police hunt for burglars of my flat

London's Metropolitan Police is actively looking for information about three suspects, likely related to break in to my flat and subsequent threats made to my family.

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.