Photo: Noticias Al Día y A La Hora retrieved

In the midst of rampant impunity enjoyed by chavista honchos and corrupt tycoons, a U.S. federal prosecutor just indicted Venezuelan “businessman” Raúl Gorrín, on charges of corruption and money laundering, declaring him a fugitive of U.S. justice. Gorrín, who was barely known as that dude who bought Globovisión and turned it from the oppo Bastille to another self-censored outlet, is now rather famous or, should we say, infamous.

The indictment, and the plea deal of former treasurer Alejandro Andrade, the arrests of Gabriel Jiménez and Nervis Villalovos, and the indictments against bolichico Francisco Convit and former treasurer Claudia Díaz, brings a whiff of justice to a country deprived of it.

But who’s Gorrín? How did he end up in this pickle?

According to his website, he was born in Caracas to a working class family. He wanted to study aeronautical engineering in Venezuela’s Army college but couldn’t afford it, so he went to law school instead, at Universidad Santa María, where he was inspired to become an entrepreneur by Rousseau and self-help guru Paulo Coelho. He then became a criminal lawyer.

It’s not clear how Gorrín went from a criminal lawyer to a criminal, but according to the indictment, he paid hundreds of millions of dollars to Andrade and other officials to get dollars at the preferential rate.

It’s not clear how Gorrín went from a criminal lawyer to a criminal lawyer, but according to the indictment, he paid hundreds of millions of dollars to Andrade and other officials to get dollars at the preferential rate, laundering it all in South Florida. In 2009, he acquired Seguros La Vitalicia, a small insurance company, with Juan Domingo Cordero.

Then, notably, he bought the Globovisión TV news network, in 2013.

Globovisión had been opposition-minded — often hyperbolically so. After Gorrín, several journalists were fired and the network turned into a self-censored space. Word is, he only served as a frontman in this transaction for some government honcho to slowly and quietly shut Globovisión up.

Gorrín was one of the poster boys for the nouveau riche during the Chávez era. His website, public foundation and social media reveal an almost desperate desire for respectability. He did manage to lure several journalists and politicians into his orbit, getting recently photographed with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence. He was apparently obsessed with cleaning his image by brokering a dialogue between the government and the opposition.

As usual, the government pretends the indictment didn’t happen, and unlike the case of Alejandro Andrade, who had his bank accounts at Banco de Venezuela frozen, there’s no pending investigation against Gorrín. Globovisión remains hushed, and prefers to focus on degrading our public discourse even further.

Gorrín was one of the poster boys for the nouveau riche during the Chávez era.

Gorrín’s indictment is a reminder of several things. First, the perverse nature of currency exchange controls and how they foster rampant corruption and waste. His case also tells us how the government uses illegal transactions, probably with public funds, to shamelessly buy out dissident mediaÚltimas Noticias and El Universal being other examples. It’s also sad proof of the power to buy respectability among certain Venezuelan circles—even in the opposition.

More importantly, it’s a reminder that, thanks to the U.S. Department of Justice, Venezuelans can get payback for the looting of our country. Many of those who profited from chavismo’s disaster can’t sleep at night and are only safe if they—like Gorrín—stay in the broken country they helped destroy.

I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for some dulce de lechosa.

 

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Andrade was covered elsewhere, but I hadn’t seen anything on Gorrin. Those seized funds could be placed in a Venezuela Clawback Fund (Democrats love the “clawback” word since it satisfies their blood-lust for “the rich”). Let the Treasury take a commission to cover their costs, and fork it over to the auspices of the IMF, strictly segregated, to return it to a legitimate government. That might even provide some incentive for those sitting on the fence who think they might get more than they are allegedly getting from the regime. A new notion of “GoFundMe”. (I’m becoming a bit jaundiced, and looking at insincere motivations for the ethically torpid. Hopefully it’s just a rash and I’ll get over it.) The seized funds should be managed and segregated with a purpose of returning them to “their rightful owners”, i.e. the reconstruction of the beleaguered nation. There must be at least $20,000,000,000, and counting, maybe more.

    • When will the useful idiot establishment of LatAm begin to return the loot to el pueblo, or do anything against the enchufados except talk.

      • Yeah! When will they do anything, huh? Show some real courage! WHEN WILL THEY START POSTING ANONYMOUSLY TO A BLOG?! HUH!?!??

        If they had BALLS they’d do something meaningful like POST ANONYMOUS COMMENTS! don’t they get it that that’s the only thing the regime fears?

    • That 20 billion is just the tip of the ice berg bro. I like this line of thinking. It must be returned to a legitimate Venezuelan government though. And let it publicly grow as resentment will fester and er pueblo will start to focus their anger towards this government and NOT the Potus. Yeah we got 20 billion dollars here in a trust fund just waiting for you when you decide to grow up. We took it away from the bully who’s been fucking you all these years so let’s figure out a way for everyone to earn and keep their lunch money.
      I like it. I like it a lot.

      • The media are not going after the stories (with the exception of Dolar Today). However, and article in Bloomberg did mention that the prosecuting lawyer in the Andrade case noted that the funds should NOT be returned to the regime under the victim idea. What I got was that the funds are indeed being withheld from the regime, but are also not being disbursed elsewhere and ARE being held. (I’m not going to go digging into which properties, real estate, business, or personal are being auctioned at which prices!)

        I can’t resist mentioning that the Venezuela – Spain – Singapore connection detailed in DT dwarfs the Goldman Sachs legitimate acquisition of bonds on the secondary market. The $100 billion in Singapore bonds were a direct placement to the local subsidiary of a British global bank. What that bank subsequently did with them, I have no idea, but presumably STS (sold to suckers). (Hah, hah … gosh I’m funny!)

  2. Not that I don’t applaud this action, but the Department of Justice just confiscated over a billion dollars from Andrade.

    Whenever there’s a regimen change, getting that money back will prove extremely difficult, if not impossible.

    It just seems like they are racking up their coffers more than anything else.

    It would actually mean something if these funds went to transitional government fund where it will desperately be needed.

  3. After forty years in Venezuela I migrated to Ecuador three years ago. I follow the news there mostly through the Nacional and sites like this one. That said, it seems to me that Globovision has been censored less than the other TV channels. Vladimir and Penzini interview a few that are very critical of the Maduro “government”. Is there any Venezuelan TV channel doing a better job?

    • That’s a moot question, since there are no Vz channels that haven’t been bought by PSUV since Globo’s buyout (or kidnapping if you’re feeling particularly poignant).

      They’re doing -a- job, the only job they have now since they belong to chavismo: the show must go on. Keep people entertained, hush out anything particularly hurtful, allow a small modicum of controlled opposition to appear. They hardly ever need conatel’s involvement at this point.

  4. CC censorship hits again. They’re deleting my posts which are INCREDIBLY tame.

    Let’s see if this one survives 5 minutes:

    1) Someone in Germany claims they’re harboring a Venezuelan woman and her 8-year-old, and the kid can’t read a word in Spanish. Not a word, at 8 years old.

    2) This was posted as an indictment of the VZ educational system, which we all knows needs no further indictment.

    3) However, I posted that this mother can’t be too bright…I didn’t even infer severe lack of caring…in that this kid couldn’t read ANYTHING. When all parents reads to their kids and start teaching them the skill prior to even kindergarten.

    A social commentary CC didn’t want to hear, and he deleted my post.

    • They should have deleted this one also. What does this narrative have to do with Gorrin, Andrade, corruption, exchange rates, etc. important to add to the thread not distract it.

      Regarding this articl, this is old news (1 week) and I am surprised that CC has taken so long to report it and provide their opinion.

      Good post tho Cesar.

  5. I guess CC chose to cover Gorrin because he is a media mogul but I am more interested in this Andrade guy. Accepting a billion dollars in bribes may be a world record but perhaps that fact is too embarrassing.

  6. Typical of Venezuela, and many other L.A. countries, it takes the U.S./similar to indict, and, just maybe, the country of citizenship of the indicted may follow through. Venezuela wants Andrade extradited to: 1) Shut him up?; 2) Glom on to part of his wealth?; 3)Both 1) and 2). Answer? Obvious. But, likely Andrade has struck a deal to avoid extradition. And, his $1bill. is just a tiny part of the estimated $350bill/+ stolen by the Regime/enchufados (DC/Ram. clan/CH clan combined probably account for at least 20% of total).

  7. Whenever there’s a regimen change, getting that money back will prove extremely difficult, if not impossible.

    It just seems like they are racking up their coffers more than anything else.

    It would actually mean something if these funds went to transitional government fund where it will desperately be needed.
    ——–
    My understanding is that there is no way in hell those funds will simply be handed over to ANYONE in Venezuela, which is tantamount to just sticking it into a politician’s pocket. And even if it were honestly administrated at the top, once it started trickling down so much would be raked off only a few Reales would ever get to the targeted project. The culture is simply set up to work that way and there is no extant model for any other MO. So likely the money will be offered as credits for goods, or something. But just forking over cash money to Venezuelan “governments” is universally recognized as folly.

    • Offering as credits for goods is a good idea (no pun). It fits with the targeted sanctions idea currently implemented.

      Do you have any idea what the commission rate or fee for bribes is in Venezuela? If it’s negotiated to somewhere around 20$, for example, each 100 in bribes marks the inverse of the percentage in “face value” of the exchange, or 500.

      The Singapore bonds were apparently discounted by about 24%, with a substantial “sweetener” of gold certificates tossed in. I wonder if the bribe percentage is pegged to the national interest rate on government debt?

  8. VZ is asking for extradition, but I can’t remember for which crook exactly.

    I’m sure it’s to stifle him from revealing more information about Chavismo crimes, but extradition ain’t happening to any of these guys for a plethora of reasons. And the most valid, which moots any extradition claims Maduro might make?

    They used stolen/laundered money to acquire assets in the United States, a crime committed HERE in the states and indicted/convicted/plea-bargained for. The U.S. owns propietory jurisdiction over this.

    Especially since Venezuela was never going after them in the first place.

  9. My Sister in law has what used to be considered a decent government job, she now gets paid weekly, (weekly!), yesterday she was paid Bs.800, today she bought a panela of soap “las llaves” at Bs200 and wanted to buy dishwashing soap, which cost Bs800, which cost Bs200 last week, needless to say she did not buy the dishwashing soap. Last week she went to the birthday party of a co-worker who’s husband is military, and they had a BBQ with beef, chicken, scotch, beer, etc. etc. She told us all of this with resignation and absolutely no anger or indignation, I lived in Venezuela for more than 20 years and left in 2005 after having been carjacked for 7 hours. I left angry, if I were Venezuelan I would have become an opponent to this government and would have likely ended up dead or in jail, my wife convinced me to leave, I am glad she did, but that does not eliminate the feeling of sorrow that I feel for a country I once considered my own, or the feeling of contempt that I feel for an entire society that has created its own plight, or the feeling of utter disbelief of the day to day that Venezuelans endure, or the fear that I feel for the future that awaits.

  10. ….the feeling of sorrow that I feel for a country I once considered my own, or the feeling of contempt that I feel for an entire society that has created its own plight, or the feeling of utter disbelief of the day to day that Venezuelans endure, or the fear that I feel for the future that awaits.
    ——-

    Pretty much sums up the way many, I suspect, feel, who used to live in Venezuela, and who still have family there, though most are fleeing fast. If any one has even the faintest clue how to “fix” or change the situation, I haven’t heard it yet.

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