The luxury obsession of the network that plundered $2 billion from PDVSA

The luxury obsession of the network that plundered $2 billion from PDVSA

Then-Venezuelan Oil Minister, Rafael Ramírez, during a public appearance in Caracas on January 29, 2013.
Ariana Cubellos (AFP)

Bills for presidential suites in luxury hotels amount to $1.8 million; Treasury 1.3 million. $761,497 private trips to Nicaragua; Cooking courses 430690; A private gym with a capacity of 388,658… The network that plundered $2,000 million from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) entered a waste spiral after committing the theft of the main public company in the Latin American country between 2007 and 2012.

Joaquin Gil & Jose Maria Irojo || Country

Unpublished documents to which EL PAÍS had access They reveal unknown expenses of this conspiracy for more than thirty peopleof between it Former deputy energy ministers of Venezuela from the government of Hugo Chavez (2002-2013) Nervis Villalobos And Javier Alvarado.

The high-end residency chapter focused on the hottest spending item for this group of achievers, who charged a commission of up to 10% to open the door for companies to scoop the Venezuelan energy giant's prizes. The organization paid at least $1.8 million in 2014 to a travel agency in Florida (Miami) for more than two dozen exclusive stays in the presidential suites of the Four Seasons chains in Paris, Mexico and New York, and the Sheraton Hotel from Frankfurt.

The plot also remains at the Mandarin Oriental hotels in Hong Kong; Bristol Panama; Grand Hyatt in Shanghai and the Atlantis (Bahamas) and Le Blanc (Cancun) vacation complexes, which offer clients a butler, Caribbean Sea views, luxurious rooms and infinity pools, according to its website. A vacation at the Mandarin Rivera Maya for $283,178 completes the new waste footprint.

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The Panamanian company High Consulting and Consulting SA, It is controlled by businessman and alleged front man of the group, Luis Mariano Rodríguez CabelloIt was the organization's tool for paying expenses. Rodríguez Cabello, in turn, is a straw man for Diego Salazar, cousin of former Energy Minister Chavista, former head of PDVSA and former ambassador to the United Nations Rafael Ramírez, according to the investigation conducted by an Andorran judge. Since 2018, about thirty people have been tried for money laundering and belonging to a network that plundered the Venezuelan public company.

The hotel stay came complete with luxurious extras. Thus, the group paid $430,690 for “various gifts, transportation, and a cooking course” during a trip to Paris, and another $538,362 for “miscellaneous expenses” on another trip to the French capital.

The scheme, which has acquired 21 homes worth $52 million, has set aside nearly seven to spruce up and renovate its exclusive property. Tracking the charges reveals that the group spent $1.4 million on a three-unit wardrobe, $1.3 million on furniture from an Italian company – which included transportation from Livorno and Genoa to Venezuela?, and $1.4 million on an office dining room. More than $1 million in marble supplies for a property in Caracas, $600,000 in other pieces of exclusive furniture and $388,658 in a private gym.

The network also spent $1 million on modern communications systems, $230,000 on architectural projects, $200,000 on carpentry, and another similar figure on lighting equipment for one of its members' personal home on the beach. A €13,000 piece for a pool table completes the decor and accessories section of the home.

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