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Venezuela's Bermudez: A very fat swindle

by Teodoro Petkoff | Translated by Miguel Octavio

13.12.04 | This is today's Editorial by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual, it extends the Bermudez case to some real state deals done by the Ministry of Finance and suggests some of the same manipulations and improper handling of the bond issues that I have often mentioned in this blog:

A very fat swindle by Teodoro Petkoff

Jesus Bermudez, called “Fat (Gordo) Bermudez”, former Vice-Minister of Finance with Tobias Nóbrega, has been detained in Miami and is going to be subject to a trial for a number of violations of the law, among them, attempting to introduce as contraband forty thousand dollars in cash into the US. But things are not as simple as Jose Vicente (the VP) attempted to make it look, when he denied that the plane in which the “Gordo” traveled belonged to CVG. Let’s see.

In order to be free on bail, one hundred thousand dollars were paid in a flash. Who paid? Someone called Leonardo LLaneza. Let’s pull that thread. Who is Leonardo Llaneza? The brother and partner of Ramon Llaneza in various companies in Miami. And who is Ramon Llaneza? The representative of Yavonca Oficina Tecnica. This company was the one that sold the Ministry of Finance the “Bilbao” building, acquired to become the headquarters of the School of Administration and Public Finance of the Ministry of Finance. Tal Cual (in its editions on July 19th. and 28th. of this year) commented in its editorial about this operation in which Yavonca which had acquired the building for 1,928 million Bolívars (About one million dollars at the official exchange rate), and eleven days later, sold it to the Ministry of Finance for a cool 3,878 million Bolívars (about two million dollars at the official exchange rate). A modest overprice of 1,950 million Bolívars. Previously, Nóbrega’s Ministry had acquired the Citibank building, paying more than nine million dollars to a real state company that a week before had purchased it from Citibank for 4.5 million dollars. Before the Bilbao swindle, Yavonca, that is, Llaneza, had also attempted to sell another building called “Gloria” to the Ministry. The modus operandi was the same as Bilbao, but the operation did not pan out. However, who was the owner of “Gloria”? The Aguilera family, of which another very good friend of Nóbrega is part of, Ali Aguilera. The numbers begin to tie with each other: Llaneza, Bermudez, Aguilera.

All of them belong to Nobrega’s close circle. The National Assembly began an investigation about these buildings, the results of which nobody knows anything about. It can not be coincidental that in the web page of, from which those that pretend to be the naïve part of the regimen operate, wrote the following suspicious paragraph: “Nobrega's departure may be connected to the decision by “Gordo” Bermudez to travel to Miami with that amount in cash. There has been no official statement by the Government” What were the dollars for? For “little” Christmas gifts, said Bermudez. “Aporrea” suggests something else.

The management of the country’s foreign debt has raised many eyebrows. There was not a single bond issue that did not raise suspicions. The last one that coincided with Nobrega’s removal, made the alarms ring among investors because the assignments were made with a handpicked bias. The amazing statement by the Minister about the date of the devaluation had its logical effect, it made the “black” exchange rate go up, with which all those that had bonds, handpicked by the Ministry, may have received a juicy Christmas present. Did the Minister’s statements have something to do with this? Why was Nóbrega exactly fired for? Venezuela does not change. Crimes without criminals continue to exist. There are never trials, nobody pays. Everything is resolved by dark firings that leave the thief, if he is one, with the loot and if he is not, it leaves him marked forever. The “revolution” is more of the same...

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