Co-conspirator Carlos Kauffmann who has pleaded guilty of
being an agent for the Venezuelan Government in trying to cover up the origin
of the 800,000 dollars in Antoninis suitcase, testified on Friday without the
jury being present. As explained well by Javier Caceres in Notiven, the reason
for this testimony is that the judge will allow the defense to tell the jury
that Duran was entrapped by the FBI into committing a crime, which the
prosecution wants to counteract by showing that Duran had a long history of
corruption and services with the Chavez Government and trying to fix the
Antonini problem was just a natural continuation of Durans record.
What the Prosecutor had the judge do was give details on
the earlier statements by Kauffmann on the many ways they made money off
corrupt officials in the current Venezuelan Government. This had been included
in an earlier affidavit discussed
here in this blog, but this time Kauffmann gave a lot more details,
including many names. El Nacional has
made a diagram of all of the links and connections of the people involved
with Maletagate with Government officials in Venezuela and Argentina.
Kauffman began talking about the National Guard. He
mentioned sic names including General Victor Jose Molina who has denied doing â€œbusiness
with Kauffmann, but did admit knowing him. He said these people handled the
finances and purchasing within the National Guard. We were their bankers¨ said
Kauffmann. We handled millions of dollars for them, charging them 10%, which I
would divide with Duran. We handled millions in cash said Kauffmann.
With the Governor of Cojedes Johnny Yanez Rangel,
Kauffmann said he had a long history. Recall that Yanez Rangel was part of a
protest in front of the US Embassy when Kauffmann was detained, where he
defended his entrepreneur friends and that local reporter Leocenis Garcia
showed that it was Kauffmann who paid Yanez vacation at the luxurious Llao
Llao hotel in Bariloche, Argentina.
According to Kauffmann, they would direct the deposits
from Cojedes State to Bancoro, a regional bank, charging 10% of which the
Governor would get a 30% kickback. They would hold and manage that 30% for the
Governor and charge him 10% for it pr year, which Kauffmann would split with
Duran. Duran and Kauffmann also got contracts for public works of the order of
US$ 10 million of which they would kick back 10-15% to the Governor.
In Vargas State, the same one that was destroyed by mudslide
in 200 and has never recovered (but remains rabidly Chavista, go figure!), they
would also direct deposits to Bancoro and kick back 40-50% to the Governor, who
they gave 250,000 US dollars for his campaign. They also executed US$ 30
million in public works, of which they would give the Governor directly 10-15%
and Governor Rodriguez would take care of distributing around to other
On the Citibank building Kauffman said that it was not a
great deal. They bought it for US$ 4.5 million and sold t two weeks later to
the Ministry of Finance for US$ 9.5 million. Kauffmann said they had to pay off
not only Minister of Finance Tobias Nobrega, but also Jesus Bermudez, Alejandro
Dopazos and Lenin Aguilera. Recall that Bermudez was caught arriving in Miami
in a private airplane with US$ 40,000 in cash for Christmas Gifts in another sign
of how the revolution has lost touch with reality. Kauffmann said he did not
mind making only US$ 200,000-300,000 on this deal, because it helped them gain
the trust of the Ministry officials and later they bought bonds for US$ 50 million,
which they later sold for US$ 100 million, paying off the Ministry officials
US$ 25 million in kickbacks.
Kauffmann also mentioned the Ministry of Education and Fogade;
the latter has been involved with a number of corruption cases, which actually led to the firing
of its Head Jesus Caldera Infante. Among other jewels, Caldera Infante gave
about US$ 50 million to a manager purportedly representing a foreign bank. The
man was shot dead in Caracas and the money was never found.
Kauffmann said that Duran and him got paid for directing
deposits to Banesco, Banco Federal, Bancoro, Banco Bolivar and Banco Canarias.
Some of these banks said that this was false and that Kauffmann had no account in
them. Well, everyone knows how official deposits are moved around the country
and I can assure you all payments are made in cash, no accounts needed.
Remember I wrote
a long post about this racket in 2005.(Funny Kauffmann did not talk about his role in selling bonds to local banks, that was another swindle he was known to participate very actively in)
Finally testified that the Government asked them to fix
the Maletagate problem and they willingly did it because this would get them
future deals and protect their property. In fact, the Government has seized the
shares Kauffmann and Duran had in petrochemical company Venoco as part of the
local investigation which has yet to be made public and it is unclear what the
charges will be or who will be charged.
But so far, no investigation has been opened on the huge
number of Government Officials: Ministers, Governors, Generals, Head of
Intelligence and the like that have been accused of being part of the kickbacks
and corruption rackets. In any reasonable country the scandal would be huge and
the Prosecutors would be having a field day.
Not in Venezuela during the robolution.