The network’s obsession with luxury that robbed PDVSA of two billion dollars

Venezuela’s then-Minister of Petroleum, Rafael Ramírez, during a public appearance in Caracas on January 29, 2013.
Ariana Cubillos (AP)

Bill for $1.8 million mega-luxury hotel presidential suites; Closet of 1.3 million; private flights to Nicaragua worth $761,497; cooking course worth 430,690; A private gym of 388,658… The network that looted $2,000 million from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) entered a spiral of ruin after carrying out the theft of the Latin American country’s main public company between 2007 and 2012.

joaquin gil , Jose Maria Irujo || Country

Unpublished documents to which EL PAÍS has access They reveal the unknown expenses of this conspiracy of more than thirty peopleof which are Former Venezuelan Deputy Minister of Energy from the government of Hugo Chávez (2002-2013) Nervis Villalobos And Xavier Alvarado,

The chapter on sophisticated housing focused on the juiciest expenditure item of this group of achievers, which charged commissions of up to 10% for opening doors to companies seeking the Venezuelan energy giant’s rewards. The organization paid a travel agency in Florida (Miami) at least $1.8 million in 2014 for more than twenty exclusive stays in the Four Seasons chain’s presidential suites in Paris, Mexico and New York, and at the Sheraton in Frankfurt.

The plot also took place in Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental hotels; Bristol of Panama; According to their website, the Grand Hyatt in Shanghai and the Atlantis (Bahamas) and Le Blanc (Cancun) holiday complexes, which offer their clients a butler, Caribbean Sea views, luxury rooms and infinity pools. $283,178 Vacation at Mandarin Riviera Maya Meets New Traces of Devastation.

High Advisory and Consulting SA, a Panamanian company Businessman and alleged leading figure of the group, controlled by Luis Mariano Rodríguez Cabello, was the organization’s means to pay expenses. According to the investigation led by an Andorran judge, Rodríguez Cabello is Diego Salazar’s straw man, cousin of Chavista former energy minister Rafael Ramírez, former president of PDVSA and former ambassador to the United Nations. Since 2018, about thirty people have been prosecuted in a case related to money laundering and a network that plundered a Venezuelan public company.

The hotel stay was full of extra luxuries. Thus, the group paid $430,690 for “miscellaneous gifts, transportation and cooking courses” during a trip to Paris and another $538,362 for “miscellaneous expenses” on another trip to the French capital.

The scheme, which acquired 21 houses worth 52 million, allocated about seven to decorate and renovate their specific properties. The investigation into the allegations revealed that the group spent 1.4 million on a three-module wardrobe, 1.3 million on furniture from an Italian firm – this amount included transport from Livorno and Genoa to Venezuela?, an office dining 1.4 million were spent on the chamber, over a 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 spent one million on state-of-the-art telecommunications systems, 230,000 on architectural projects, 200,000 on carpentry and another similar figure on lighting equipment for the private house on the beach of one of its members. An item worth 13,000 euros for a pool table completes the decorative and accessories section for the home.

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