The Government (Finally) Goes After Banesco

After years of veiled threats against Venezuela’s largest bank, 11 Banesco executives were arrested and now face the uncertain.

Photo: María Alesia Sosa

Today, imposed Prosecutor General, Tarek William Saab, declared that the Public Ministry has arrest warrants for Banesco Venezuela’s CEO Oscar Doval, along with 10 other executives and high-ranking employees, to make sure “(Banesco’s) activities are done in strict accordance with law.”
As of now, the warrants name Doval, vice-presidents Jesús Irausquín, Carlos Lorenzo, Pedro Pernía and Belinda Omaña, legal adviser Marco Ortega, director Liz Sánchez, managers David Romero, Cosme Betancourt, Teresa De Prisco and ODC Carmen Lorenzo.

It was reported yesterday night that Banesco Venezuela’s board of directors was interrogated at a military base by Counterintelligence officers, all part of “Operation Paper Hands”, the government’s response to an alleged conspiracy to undermine Venezuelan economy, with dozens of arrests and lots of confiscated foreign currency.

According to data by Venezuela’s banking-regulating entity, Sudeban, 25% of all bank deposits in the nation are done through Banesco, including those coming from government institutions.

Banesco and its owner, Juan Carlos Escotet, have clashed many times with the chavista government, especially with constituyentista Diosdado Cabello.

Though still too early to tell, it wouldn’t be shocking if Banesco followed the same steps  overnight than Banco de Venezuela, Banco Federal and Banco del Caribe, turning into the newest knot in the tangled web of government-owned banks.

José González Vargas

Freelance journalist, speculative fiction writer, college professor, political junkie, lover of books and movies and, semi-professional dilettante. José has written for NPR's Latino USA, Americas Quarterly, Into and ViceVersa Magazine.