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Rafael Ramírez: PDVSA could sue the Miami Herald

Editorial | El Universal

13.04.05 | The middlemen are linked to the officialdom, according to El Nuevo Herald. The legal counsel team for Petróleos de Venezuela is studying the possibility of initiating judicial proceedings for defamation against media who have carried out accusations pertaining to the holding company’s management.

That is what was conveyed by the president of the oil firm, Rafael Ramírez, in reference to releases published on Monday by the daily El Nuevo Herald, which affirmed that a network of middlemen is collecting multimillion-dollar commissions resulting from “consultations” for the sales of crude and derivatives.

“We will resort to whatever legal action because we are not going to accept that our PdVSA management continues being defamed, further assured the minister of Energy and Petroleum. He reiterated that the corporation has abandoned the practice of involving middlemen in the sale of Venezuelan petroleum and added that permanent investigations are underway to ascertain as to irregularities. “We can indeed say that that is not part and parcel of the endorsement of our mechanisms for granting contracts.”

In a communiqué, PdVSA assured that it does not maintain any relation with natural individuals in the marketing and delivery of petroleum and products. Concerning one of the companies mentioned by the daily, Gulfstream Trading Limited, he affirmed that it is duly registered in the systems and accredited for conducting business directly with the corporation in the marketing of heavy naphtha and natural gasoline.

According to documents published by El Nuevo Herald, this company conducts business with PdVSA through third parties who charge substantial commissions for the sale of diesel and Mesa 30 crude.

Trading in Detail

In a second installment, El Nuevo Herald yesterday announced that the beneficiaries of the multimillion-dollar commissions paid for the marketing of PdVSA crude and products have been using a sophisticated network of political, financial and family relations in order to negotiate and assure payments into a dozen bank accounts in four countries.

The ties referred to by the daily compromise leaders of the national and regional parties of the officialdom such as MVR and Podemos, as well as relatives of high officials in the Armed Force.

Traders consulted by the daily confirm that hundreds of offers for Venezuelan petroleum products circulate as never before within the international petroleum orbit, despite what Ramírez has insisted upon since last year, namely that the policy of the holding company is basically to minimise the use of middlemen in order to guarantee greater earnings for PdVSA.

The commissions for the intermediation process (termed as “Consultant Fees”) surpass 2 dollars a barrel.

Translation by W.K.

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