Swiss Miss(conduct)


Bloomberg has a good, meaty piece today on crusading U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara’s widening investigation into bribery and money laundering arising from corruption at PDVSA and Bandes. The big news is that the gringos are looking into potential misconduct at a headspinning eighteen different Swiss Banks – including pretty much all the big ones – in connection with Venezuela-related money laundering.

But it’s the inside detail that’s really interesting to this blog’s readers:

The Swiss bank records are being sought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in connection with his office’s investigation into representatives of Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan energy company that has done business with PDVSA, the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) in Bern said. Bharara’s request means that records of any wire transactions between the 18 banks and individuals or companies suspected of bribery or other criminal conduct in Venezuela will be given to federal prosecutors in New York.

So, the Justice Department is leading a major investigation “continuous witch hunt” into Bolichicostan. You can upgrade that one from “universally presumed” to “actually confirmed”, then…

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  1. There’s news in Houston this week about 3 confessions/ convictions of PDVSA executives related to the Robert Rincon 2 billion dollar guiso. I hope the US has opened a really large can of worms 🙂

  2. Corruption in Venezuela will be difficult to stop from within Venezuela. The prosecutors work for and answer to the corrupt officials. A U.S. investigation will have credibility and solid enforcement. Moreover, the U.S. media will expose everything with the Venezuela media is stifled.

    If Obama wants credit for this investigation, then give it to him. It is a great approach to help Vzla.

  3. Preet Bharara is also prosecuting the case of the narco-nephews.

    My own professional interaction with that office (in a Sri Lankan terrorist case) convinced me that those guys are fearsomely thorough, as well as ferociously determined.

    When we discussed settlement, their first offer was “175 years imprisonment.”

    Goodbye, Derwick. Goodbye, narco-nephews.

  4. Not to put a damper on all of this, but Ms. Cassani of the University of Geneva noted that the Swiss bank client data could still take as long as “a year or more” before being turned over to US authorities. At this time next year Venezuela’s economy will have already sunk to a stone age level, and slipping. Let’s hope those Andorran bank records, which are currently being investigated, are made public in the near future. There are a lot of bank investigator’s and federal prosecutors who are surely curious as to the hidden assets of one Maria Gabriela Chavez, and how much of it has been tucked-away in little Andorra. 3 billion? And, ah, where did that come from?

  5. All that is really necessary is for one terrified (and dirty) official to start singing, and the whole rotten house of cards could very well fall.

  6. Sometimes you just have to marvel at Americans. Their airports and roads are a disaster, their major establishment party has been hijacked by an infant, their serving sizes are way too big, they talk too much in elevators, but they do things like this, and they do it so well, that you just can’t help but love them, and wish the best for them, deep in your heart.

  7. Also today Casto Ocando brings the news that the U.S. are investigating links between Roberto Rincon, the PDVSA contractor in jail in Houston and the “gentlemen” from PetroMarine, the ghost company that rented the Aban Pearl to PDVSA back in 2008 for twice the amount that they were paying the real owner of the barge. These two “gentlemen”, Hidalgo Socorro and Enoc Martínez, are now under the microscope of the U.S. authorities, says Ocando.
    The whole thing is a big bundle of corruption involving contractors such as Rincon, Derwick, Martines&Socorro, Ruperti.and PDVSA management, mostly during the Ramirez watch but extending far back and forward, into the Del Pino days. And do not forget PDVAL: and the rotten imported food racket!

  8. The only thing that still eludes me is the Facebook comment that links to this article:

    “Two page El Nacional spread denying this in 5…4…3…”

    What reason would have El Nacional (MHO’s newspaper) to deny this? Aren’t you confusing it with El Universal (chapo furrial’s newspaper) ?

    • EN has journalists that have been in Derwick’s pocket for a while. Can’t be sure if its their “official” line or just rogue writers.

  9. Could someone explain the jurisdiction on this? Why is a federal court allow to prosecute a case that “occurs” outside the US? Is it because the money is in the US (subject matter jurisdiction)?

    • The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of the US penalizes corrupt activities by companies or persons based or sited in the US even if they take place or benefit people outside the US , or even if they only have a passing connection to the US . Very similar laws exist in other OECD countries , for example Germany…..!! As Francisco comment suggests , the penalties can be quite severe and there are many US govt agencies dedicated to its enforcement. !!


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