Archive for December 17th, 2009

With Comptroller Russian in denial, corruption goes into the billions of dollars

December 17, 2009

(Weil: Chavez: Anyone that invents that I am involved in a guiso (“stew”, but word used for fraud or racket) goes to jail))

The Comptroller Clodosvaldo Russian, also called Ruffian by those that “love” him, is a funny man, or he may think he is being funny when he tells us that corruption under his watch has gone down. Well, he is either deaf and dumb, or so partisan that he refuses to see beyond his nose. More amazingly, Russ(ff)ian always manages to stick his neck out and defend the President whenever Chavez is in trouble, like he did two days ago on the anniversary of the 2000 Constitution vote. He even said that there were “paid companies” to make public denunciations of corruption in order to make the Government (i.e. his boss the autocrat/Dictator Hugo Chavez) look bad. And I reiterate he actually had the gall to say corruption has gone down under his watch.

In fact, this whole thing by Russian and others seemed to be a well designed campaign to defend Chavez from any possibility that he is accused of having known about all of the financial corruption that has taken eight banks down.

It actually all started with Chavez suggesting he had only seen Arne Chacon once in his life. Sure Hugo, the funny thing is that Arne was not only the brother of your Uber Minister Jesse, but actually worked for a while at Miraflores and you want us to believe you never heard of him. Chavez called Arne a “pata en el suelo” (A person so poor, that goes barefoot). Well, this happens to be quite similar to what we have been saying in this blog, not only about Arne Chacon, but also about other bolibourgeois groups which have made hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years.

Now we are supposed to believe that corruption is down, after Fernandez Barrueco and his group ransacked four banks and billions in two years and Arne Chacon and Pedro Torres “spent” half a billion dollars  buying financial institutions this year alone. Because it was Chavez who publicly hailed Fernandez on his Alo Presidente program as the type of enterprising private sector people the revolution needed. Some social conscience, no?

And Hugo’s brother Adan threatened to take to Court anyone that accuses him of corruption, a very serious threat in a country where his brother can send a Judge to prison for following the law. Strange thing is that Adan never clarified whether he knew Fernandez Barrueco or not, or whether Fernandez ever visited him while Adan was Ambassador to Cuba.

And former Vice President/Minister of Defense/Minister of Foreign Relations Jose Vicente Rangel also joined the chorus suggesting this is all a conspiracy against Chavez. Apparently, he has not seen the DISIP report last February which said the Superintendence of Banks knew that some of the intervened banks were being used as a “money centrifuge” for the personal benefit of the members of the Board. I wonder what part of that sentence the Comptroller does not understand.

And the funny (not in the ha ha sense) thing is that all of a sudden the same Superintendent of Banks that did nothing for years (YES, YEARS!) in terms of approving or denying the transfer of ownership of banks, is now on a rampage of resolutions denying the purchase of the very same banks that were being run by the bolibourgeois new wave financiers for years, most of them (all?) bankrupt by now.

But we are supposed to believe that Chavez, who regularly threatens us that he knows everything that is happening in Venezuela, did not know about any of this or that corruption has gone down.In the words of the Comptroller, those accusing the Government of corruption don’t do like him the detailed “quantitative, analytical” work that his office does.

Well, let’s just take one case and let’s be analytical and quantitative like Mr. Russ(ff)ian wants us to be and I hope someone brings this information to his eyes, I will not waste my time denouncing it. They know and have all of this information:

Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco had a small trucking company and managed a parking lot in 2002. He helped the Government during the 2002 strike by lending it his few trucks. Because of this, he received easy credit to buy some 3,000 trucks in the next couple of years and became “The King of Mercal”, the main supplier of food to Chavez’ pet project Mercal, a nationwide chain of markets where food was sold at low prices.

For quite a while, a copy of Fernandez Barrueco’s financials, audited by a prestigious accounting firm have been circulating. In late December 2005, his net worth had soared to US$ 1.6 billion, BEFORE he even started buying (and emptying) banks:

To be exact we are talking about US$ 1.609 billion in assets once his debt of US$ 18,977 dollars is subtracted. This would place Mr Fernandez in less than three years in the top three or four of Venezuela’s richest people.

Let’s put this in perspective: The fastest growing company in the history of the world was Google, you can find the Prospectus of its IPO here. Founded in 1999, Google had a loss of US$ 6 million that year, lost 14 million in 2000 and earned 6.9 million in 2001, 99 million in 2002. 105 million in 2003. Thus, in its first four years of existence the fastest growing company in the history of the world Google, made in profit US$ 191 million.

Well, Mr. Fernandez Barrueco had in late 2005 the following assets:

Thus, Mr. Fernandez Barrueco in about half the time as Google, I repeat, the fastest growing company in the history of the world, had accumulated personally (I imagine in dividends) US$ 411 million, which he invested in a bunch of bonds and about US$148 million in CD’s (A bit conservative for my taste).

Well, Mr. Russian, this should raise some eyebrows in your “analytical” and “quantitative” mind or team, if there is one. Mr. Barrueco with a diversified food and transportation business, was able to do better than the fastest growing company in the history of the world. But even worse, he is (was?) probably much richer in 2009, because his empire had expanded and gone into Banking and “money centrifuges” to use the technical language of the DISIP report. Remember, this statement is “only” from four years ago.

Maybe this is all legit, but somehow I doubt it, call me skeptical…

So, Mr. Russian may want to look into this to see if his statement that corruption has decreased in Venezuela during his tenure is true or not. While he is at it, he may also check on Arne Chacon and his partner and the half a billion dollars they spent this year on financial institutions.

And if that is not enough, he may want to check into those involved in the Maletagate scandal. These guys “only” were worth a few hundred million of questionable origin and as far as I know they have yet to be investigated.

De nada, Clodosvaldo.