(Not a great picture of Arne Chacon with one of his horses, Il Divo, when it won an important race)
Over four years ago, in a post called “Onward the pretty robolution” I reported on the meteoric rise of Arne Chacon, the brother of the omni-Minister Jesse Chacon in the financial world. My questions were simple, how could a lowly employee of SENIAT the tax office, who had no known employment before 2002, according to Venezuela’s social security administration, all of a sudden own a large stake in bank Baninvest and offer US$ 10 million for milk producer Indulac? (sadly Poleo’s post with a copy of his offer is no loner online)
Chacon’s rise continued, even if the Superintendent of Banks said he would look in 2006 into the origin of the funds in 2006, nothing was really done. While Arne grew his Empire, his brother went from Ministry to Minister, including twice the Ministry of Justice.
I then wrote a post about my research into Arne’s social security record, showing that he had never paid social security taxes between 1995 and 1997 and then again between 1999 and 2001, and again between 2003 and 2005 and magically in 2006 he was paying way more than me. This was the first post I ever removed from blog as a friend I respect quite a bit suggested I was getting into dangerous territory and my personal safety was at stake. Fortunately the folks at infovenezuela.org were nice to publish it anonymously after I removed it from my blog.
Arne’s rise continued as he and Pedro Torres purchased Banco Real, Central Banco Universal, Helm Bank (they kept the deposits and cerdits and resold the license), Seguros La Previsora and Mi Banco. By then he was even coming out in public boasting that obviously his relation to the Government attracted deposits to his banks. He never explained how he purchased the banks. He reportedly owned close to 15% of the race horses at the Caracas racetrack.
And then the Government shuts down Fernandez Barruecos’ banks and yesterday Arne’s and Pedro Torres’ empire was taken over by the Government. Nationalized.
Today, he was arrested.
Why did it take so long? Why was it allowed to happen? Why the change of tune? I will write about that later, but clearly there was complacency, collaboration and ineffectiveness on the part of the regulators.
Chavez will once again play the “Yo no fui” (Who me?) role, blame the oligarchy, the wealthy and the opposition. But if there is someone to blame, it was Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, this corruption by the brother of his omni-Minister, Jesse Chacon, was denounced repeatedly and nothing was done for at least four years.
Yeap, robolution indeed, the name is today more true than ever!