Archive for November 22nd, 2011

Did Venezuela Really Give US$ 2 billion in Bonds For Humanitarian Projects?

November 22, 2011

Today Alek Boyd presented some documents showing that the Venezuelan Central Bank transferred US$ 2 billion in bonds for humanitarian projects to be executed by a company Kellmar Limited run by Anthony Caplin, a former Chief Operating Officer of the UK’s Conservative Party.

I believe these documents are fake due to a number of inconsistencies. Among them:

– The bond supposedly transferred was a Global 2028 and in the nominal amount of US$ 2 billion. The Global 2028 bond was issued in May 2008 and sold to local investors in Venezuela in the amount of US$ 2 billion paired up with a Global 2023 bond in the same amount. There is no record of additional issuance of a Global 2028 and the numbers that identify the bond shown are identical to the ones issued in May 2008 and no bond could be transferred electronically, like these papers claim, if there was no registration of the issuance. As shown below, owners of this bond are multiple, topped by Fidelity Investments which holds 3.46% of the issue, thus the Venezuelan Central Bank could not have transferred the amount claimed.

-The documents contain a series of inconsistencies as to Venezuelan laws and institutions. For example, it says the bonds are registered with the Comision Nacional de Valores (page 3 in Alek’s document, shown below). Venezuelan Sovereign bonds are not subject to the regulation of the Securities regulator, as per Art. 1 of the old and the new law, nor do they trade in the Caracas Stock Exchange as it says in the document purportedly written by the Venezuelan Central Bank. Moreover, the Comision Nacional de Valores no longer existed in May 2011 when this letter was written, it’s name was changed to Superintendence of Securities in September 2010.

-The documents always refer to the Ministry of Finance, which in May 2011 was actually called Ministry of Finance and Planning.

-The suggestion by the BCV that the good relations of Kellmar Inc with the Vatican and the Sisters of Charity does not sound at all as something coming from the Chavista Government.

-There is a letter of compliance by the BCV. Why would this be needed at all? If the bonds were coming from the BCV, that alone certifies the origin of funds and adequate provenance.

-Page 5 of the document is supposed to be a SWIFT transfer of the bonds. As far as I know and have been able to determine today, SWIFT is a system for the transfer of money, not securities. Securities are transferred either via Euroclear or via Clearstream. The SWIFT document also contains unnecessary explanations of why the bonds are being transferred.

So, I am of the opinion that these documents are fake, that the Venezuelan Central Bank has never made such a transfer, nor the Venezuelan Government wants to support projects by Kellmar and Mr. Caplin like those described.

Then, what is going on here?

My suspicion is that this is either an elaborate scheme to scam other philanthropic organizations to contribute to these projects by suggesting they already have a good “seed” funding provided by the Government of Venezuela or an attempt to create a cloud around Mr. Caplin or damage him politically. I would lean towards the first, but have no idea of how such an elaborate scheme would or could possibly work.