Reuters reports that a corruption probe into Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), launched by an Audit Committee of the Venezuelan Congress, has found that "$11 billion in funds went missing from the state-run oil company while Rafael Ramirez was at the helm from 2004-14." Congressman Freddy Guevara, Chair of Congressional Committee, claimed that the sum represents "more than the (annual) budget of five Central American countries." Venezuela's Congress is now seeking to recover missing funds.
KYCTOOL provided Congressman Guevara with some of the evidence presented in a report related to the probe, including a $4.2 billion money laundering case involving Luis Oberto and Banca Privada d'Andorra, and proof of massive overcharges in $2.2 billion worth of no-bid procurement contracts given to Alejandro Betancourt, Pedro Trebbau, Francisco Convit, Francisco D'Agostino and Edgard Romero Lazo of Derwick Associates.
In a related criminal case (U.S. v. Rincon-Fernandez, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 15-cr-654), Roberto Rincón pleaded guilty to bribing PDVSA officials to obtain procurement contracts worth over $1 billion. Crucially, Rincón and Derwick Associates were awarded contracts in the same period by the same clique of PDVSA officials, some of whom have already pleaded guilty in Rincón's bribe payment scheme case.
Derwick Associates, and its Missouri-based subcontractor Pro Energy Services, are at the core of a wide-ranging criminal investigation involving Homeland Security, DEA, FBI, Treasury and prosecutors in Houston and the Southern District of New York, which seeks to recover assets. Swiss authorities, collaborating in the probe, have seized some $118 million in relation to the case.
Sources have informed that Luis Oberto and partner Francisco Convit, have entered into collaboration agreements with investigating authorities in the U.S.
Reputed financial institutions keep finding themselves in the crosshairs of law enforcement authorities due to their lax approach to illicit money. The prospect of large bonuses and increasing returns trumps due diligence every day in Wall Street and City of London banks.
But then multibillion dollar fines bring much disrepute and have a difficult to quantify impact on share price in the long term. In-house KYC and due diligence must be conducted during onboarding processes, though its shortcomings have become evident. Outsourcing these services brings much needed objectivity: for someone whose turnover does not depend on servicing white collar criminals it is much easier to determine whether such business associations should be entertained.
At KYCTOOL we count on a vast network of strategically placed sources, as well as working relationships with some of the world's leading business intelligence firms. We can tap those resources and produce objetive research and due diligence in most Latin American countries.