Les fraudeurs

Monsieur Pigasse
Monsieur Pigasse

Yesterday we learned – via the increasingly indispensable Marianna Párraga – that PDVSA is selling the refinery it owns in the US Virgin Islands. This comes on the heels of the almost certain sale of Citgo, as well as other assets overseas.

Whether the reason for these privatizations is a lack of cash, a way of escaping from the claws of justice, or a little bit of both is not what’s important. The obscurity with which these transactions are being carried out is simply outrageous – no due process, no public discussion on the matter, no public tenders … nothing.

Remember, the people in charge now are the same people who tore their garments when CANTV and Viasa were privatized via an immaculate public tender process back in the early 90s.

As this latest scandal continues to unfold, and we are forced to learn about it via international news agencies, over and over again one name keeps propping up: the investment firm Lazard.

Who are these guys? Well, they are an investment bank. Apparently the connection to PDVSA is via one Matthieu Pigasse, high-end financial celebrity and a ranking member of the caviar gauche, the high society French left wing. Pigasse has been involved with both the Argentine and the Ecuadorean government debt negotiations, and is a frequent guest of both Presidents. His firm was also involved in making millions off of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

This company is slimier than a plate of escargots, but you don’t have to trust me on that – you can read it in the tell-all book!

In all of the stories about Lazard’s involvement with PDVSA, not once has the term “public tender” come up. How did Lazard end up as the underwriters to the fleecing of Venezuela? How much commission are they charging? Who ever said they were the right firm for the job? Hell, not even chavistas like them! Even Jorge Giordani warned us about the mysterious “French” consultants.

As the old saying goes, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a French investment banking firm at the center of a massive web of corruption.

I have to hand it to the Lazard folks. Many people have gutted Venezuela in the last few years, and a few lucky ones continue gutting it, right to the last drop. But few are doing it so surreptitiously and so stylishly as you guys.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. On the upside, the sales of strategic assets clearly demonstrate Chavizmo is collapsing. They may linger on for a year or two longer due to these treasonous sales, but once this money is gone too, the Chavista regime will collapse.

    • Maybe a massive sectarian war in the Middle East may cause oil prices to shoot up, giving them a longer lease on life. It’s (a massive war) not out of the realm of possibility, to say the least.

  2. “Whether the reason for these privatizations is a lack of cash, a way of escaping from the claws of justice, or a little bit of both is not what’s important…” I think these guys are getting ready for a big party ahead of the 2015 elections

  3. Why attack Matthieu Pigasse and his firm when they’re merely doing their job as investment firms, which is to ge t rich off the backs of corrupt third world countries? Pigasse is no different from Paul Singer. “Caviar gauche” is a mere character assasination that serves no useful purpose other than to sling mud at Pigasse.

    If you were to ask me, I’d be focusing on our chavista folks who are denying, and desperately attempting to delay the incoming default, the inevitable cash crunch, and another Caracazo on its way. They’re the ones who allowed Pigasse and the likes of him to plunder our country at will. Pigasse is a mere accessory to this crime.

    • They should all be a target of scrutiny, even if they are ‘just doing their jobs’. This can be used by many in order to follow any kind of order from the chain of command.This is the same rationale used by the murderers GNB, nazis, by military personnel launching attacks where they know innocents will die, or any organized group that executes an order without regards for its moral and ethical implications.

      In that sense, human beings (and firms) can behave borderline psychopath when it comes to making a buck. To your point, in this case it’s the Venezuelan government officials who are who are ultimately responsible for making the decisions, Lazard might just be a better brand name (executor of orders) for chavistas than JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and the like. What you are describing is nothing more than an old form of rationalizing unethical behavior: “I am just doing my job, if I didn’t do it someone else would”.

    • What about banks that ignore obvious drug-money laundering? You can argue that if they don’t, someone else will step in and do the job, and you’d be right. However, the criticism => stigma has to be factored into their costs (loss of future clients, PR) so this is one way of holding them responsible for immoral actions.

    • I remember reading about him a while back. I’m a musician and own a music store so I know musicians. This guy is odd in his musical taste and musicianship. My conclusion was that he’s posing. Some people have to create an image or past and he seems one of them. I would be very suspicious of him in person.

  4. I haven’t read all the links yet, except the one on Lehman, that just sounded like Lazard made money off of representing the Lehman board in the post-collapse process which, well, presumably someone was going to do….. so I have to ask, aside from the Blues Brothers suit on Mr. Pigasse which is suspicious, are these guys not just providing a service?

  5. Lazard is more than involved in everything related to Venezuela. They are also assisting Maduro’s government with the gasoline prices increase that is been prepared, which is amazing from my point of view. Why would Venezuela need a foreign banking firm to tell the Government how to do a domestic prince increase? (Caldera successfully did it, nobody happens to remember it, and he only needed local advisors and his ministers) Why Venezuelans can not be consulted for that? Why to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to a foreign banking firm? And they are only the deals that have been discovered so far. The reality is that Maduro’s government has only a few experienced companies to trust in. Lazard is the most prominent one and it will not exit Venezuela until it makes good profits from the revolution’s negligence.

  6. When people are going broke, they always start selling possessions. The chavistas are letting the world know that they are miserable failures as they try to spin everything for morons who always believe their lies. Communism strikes again!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here