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jueves, abril 14, 2016

Derwick Oil & Gas laundering money with Gazprombank via PDVSA

By Alek Boyd - INFODIO

INFODIO:_ It has become a custom. Unsupported information leaked to this site ends up being confirmed by official evidence. The latest puts to rest an extraordinary claim: that Derwick Oil & Gas was actually a silent partner of Russia's Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V. in its dealings with Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). 

A detailed explanation is in order. Derwick Associates is a Venezuelan company that bribed its way to getting 12 procurement contracts between 2009-2010. Due to the fact that contracts granted by PDVSA and other Venezuelan public institutions were executed by a Missouri-based subcontractor (Pro Energy Services), U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York launched a probe into the affair, confirmed by Swiss authorities in late March

Pro Energy Services invoiced Derwick Associates about $1.3 billion, but Derwick Associates charged an estimated $2.25 billion in total to PDVSA and other Venezuelan institutions. The resulting billion had to be laundered. In February 2011, Derwick Oil & Gas was registered in Barbados. 
But it would be in September 2013 that the first leak about Derwick Oil & Gas activities arrived. It related to one of Derwick Oil & Gas directors, Francisco Convit. What was claimed by informants couldn't be confirmed. Then in June 2014, a source in Morgan Stanley revealed that a former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic was offering oil and gas (as much as 75,000 BPD) from Venezuela, on behalf of Derwick. At around the same time, another source revealed that Derwick's representatives had visited Brazil's BTG Pactual top managers, flogging oil concessions, as in partnerships in mixed enterprises, with PDVSA. None of it could be confirmed.

In the meanwhile, Derwick acquired nearly 20% stake of Canada's Pacific Exploration & Production, becoming one of its largest shareholders. Alejandro Betancourt, CEO of Derwick Associates and director of Derwick Oil & Gas, now sits in Pacific board, as an "independent director"
Betancourt's Pacific bio is one lie after the other. Derwick Associates -in its power plant related activities- does not operate anywhere but in Venezuela, where all the work commissioned was carried out by Pro Energy Services. It would be impossible for Betancourt to support with verifiable evidence his alleged "significant experience in the oil & gas business in projects ranging from Europe to Africa". Neither Pacific Energy, nor Canadian financial authorities, complied with minimum regulatory checks to determine legitimacy of Betancourt's funds

In the context of the struggle between Pacific Energy's former management and the -undesired- arrival of Betancourt & co, a document was leaked to this site showing Derwick's CFO (Orlando Alvarado) association with a representative of Gazprombank (Christophe Gerard) in PetroZamora, a joint PDVSA-Gazprombank enterprise

The document above, along with other circumstantial evidence, prompted further research for information related to PetroZamora's formation. 

And yet a further twist: right after Bloomberg broke the "Swiss Banks Land in Middle of Money-Laundering Probe -- Again" news related to Derwick and PDVSA, a message arrived in my inbox: "do you know that derwick is a silent shareholder in gazprombank latin america ventures b.v.?" 

Amsterdam registry documents corroborated the tip: Orlando Jose Alvarado Moreno, Francisco Convit Guruceaga, Boris Ivanov and Christophe Gerard are associated to Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V., registered in March 2011. Convit was director since creation until 4 April 2016, when Alvarado seems to have taken over the role. 

After consultion with Reuters' Marianna Párraga, more evidence was found, in Venezuelan Official Gazette

According to information published in the Gazette, PetroZamora was created by an act of Venezuelan Congress on 7 February 2012. This was followed by Decree no. 8,832 signed by Hugo Chavez on 6 March 2012, and Decree no. 8,905 signed by Hugo Chavez on 10 April 2012

Congress and first Presidential Decree established that 60% of shares would be allocated to Corporación Venezolana de Petróleo S.A. (CVP) and 40% would belong to Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V., while the second Presidential Decree granted a 25-year production period in designated area. 

The new venture would produce oil in a 697.96 km2 area in Zulia estate, described as Bachaquero Tierra and Lagunillas Tierra. 

On 28 April 2015, Venezuela's Congress approved an expansion of oil producing area allocated to PetroZamora. Additional rights for Bachaquero Lago, Bloque VII Ceuta, Bloque III Bachaquero, and Bloque III Centro were granted, increasing the concession's area by 1,157.07 km2. This new act of Congress was followed on 2 June 2015 by a Presidential reform to some articles of previous Decree no. 8,905

There is no mention of Derwick Oil & Gas, or of Orlando Alvarado, anywhere. But then, the image below gave the game away. 

On 26 May 2015, Venezuela's Oil and Energy Ministry published in the Official Gazette no. 40,668 (from page 14) minutes of a PetroZamora shareholders meeting (reported by now-arrested PetroZamora's legal counsel), where Francisco Convit is described as "Principal Director" representing Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V. 40%-stake interests. 

This is the same Francisco Convit that acts as a director of both Derwick Associates and Derwick Oil & Gas, as seen above. So Derwick has in fact been a silent partner in Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V. since first negotiations with PDVSA. 

So here's a question: did Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro and Diosdado Cabello know, as officials authorizing creation of joint venture, that Derwick's execs were partners? Given the amount of coverage that Venezuela's power plant fiasco has gotten, its corruption and associated international probes, how could chavista officials allow Derwick to carry on doing deals with the State? 

Reuters informed in July 2013 that Gazprombank -no mention to the Latin America Ventures B.V. branch- would give a one billion USD ($1bn) loan to PDVSA for the creation of PetroZamora. Sources familiar with Derwick's activities claim that up to $300 million of that loan could have been laundered through PetroZamora. 

A Panamanian shell companies structure, including Mossack Fonseca-registered Kayland Holdings, and Beefield International are alleged to have been used by Derwick Oil & Gas to wire funds to Gazprombank Lantin America Ventures B.V. via BTG Pactual-owned BSI, Banca Credinvest, Julius Baer, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Canada. 

Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V. and Derwick Oil & Gas entered into a loan agreement in April 2013, whereby Derwick committed to fund Gazprombank's loan to PDVSA for PetroZamora's purposes, said people familiar with the deal. An example was provided: a transaction that took place in October 2014, when Christophe Gerard sends communication to Convit informing about payment of some $12 million as part of "loan agreement" repayments. 

Requests for comment sent to Gerard have gone unanswered. A Venezuelan shareholder of Banca Credinvest (Antonio Pardo Andretta) denied any association between his bank and Derwick's people. Banca Credinvest, in particular, is said to be at the core of transactions between Derwick and Gazprombank Lantin America Ventures B.V. 

Gazprom and Gazprombank were included by the U.S. Treasury in its list of sanctioned Russian entities due to Ukraine's invasion. U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York and Swiss authorities are investigating PDVSA and its corrupt deals with Derwick in particular. Ivanov and Gerard have direct links to Gazprom and Gazprombank. 

Alejandro Betancourt -Derwick's main boss- has been claiming for years now that he is associated with Gazprom. 

The final question is: are Gazprom staff (Ivanov and Gerard) facilitating Derwick's money laundering and using PDVSA for that purpose?

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posted by Aserne Venezuela @ 2:23 p.m. 

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