How long can Arevenca con men keep winning?

Good news! Arevenca and China signed an oil deal for $200 billion a year over 10 years. That press release also has a video report.

If you are asking, “who is Arevenca,” all I can say is, don’t you know? Haven’t you heard of this vast multinational vertically integrated oil company, with its 2.2 million barrels a day of refining capacity (more than 2% of world capacity), a fleet of 72 ships, and plans to build a 2 million barrel-a-day refinery in Côte d’Ivoire? How could you possibly have missed it?

Actually it’s pretty easy to miss, because the whole thing is a transparent scam. Arevenca is nothing but a website full of lies and one or more con men who travel the world seeking suckers and trying to sell non-existent oil to hapless marks. They are now facing a $100 million lawsuit in New York — possibly from another gang of scammers — even as they try to move on to new tricks, namely starting an airline in Aruba.

The signs of Arevenca’s fakeness are there for all to see.

– The U.S. operation has a fax number but no phone number. There’s also a street address without a city.

– The Venezuela contact info gives a phone number on Isla Margarita to go with an address in Cabimas, on the other side of the country. This is still a step up from a few years ago, when it had an 11-digit Venezuela number, even though all phone numbers in that country have 10 digits.

– The website says the Aruba office is in something called the Arevenca Building, at LG Smith Boulevard #60 in Oranjestad. Oddly, everyone else seems to call it the Marisol Building. Plenty of companies are based there, but it is amusing that Stanford Group Aruba N.V. was one of them.

– The Madrid offices are conveniently shared with a car rental company, engineering company, and something called Ibercaribbean Trading.

– They claim to have 72 ships, even though I can’t find any list of the vessels, and shipping registries don’t turn up any hits on the name Arevenca.

Grades of fuel for sale that are only available from scam artists — along with something called “pet cock,” perhaps related to “pet coke.”

– The PR video about the $2 trillion oil deal can be found on the EFE YouTube feed. However, this version is posted on the Youtube channel of Jago1717, the webmaster of various small business websites. In his channel, the Arevenca news comes right after a small dog playing with a bone.

– The unencrypted registration form asks all comers for information that no one should ever give to anyone without due diligence, such as passport number, full bank account details, and banker’s name. Note that refiners such as Exxon Mobil, Valero and PDVSA have no comparable form on their public websites.

– Bizarre change of business: A company called Arevenca shows up in Venezuelan court records as as a sand and gravel company. The name itself is short for Arenera de Venezuela, Corporacion Compañía Anonima. Starting in about 2003, the company touted its plans for an intermodal shipping port in Venezuela. Then, in 2008, it shifted and at the stroke of a website upload, became one of the world’s biggest owners of refineries and ships.

– No list of officers or directors, much less indication of where the workers are. The only way to find out who is in charge of the company is in the court documents. Never a good sign.

– Insufferable translation on all the English pages.

– No indication of the company’s RIF, or Venezuelan tax ID number, which typically shows up on every page of Venezuelan corporate websites.

– A record of unbelievably huge deals that never materialize. Such as plans for a refinery buy in Curacao or the world’s biggest oil refinery in Côte d’Ivoire.

– Bizarre uses of numbers. The Cote d’Ivoire refinery was supposed to cost $7 billion, but the same day it was announced, China said it would build a 400,000 barrel-a-day facility for $8 billion. So $7 billion is an impossible lowball. Conversely, EFE didn’t notice that the guy was announcing a $200 billion a year deal — do they know numbers? That Venezuela’s GDP is less than twice that? Or that $200 billion a year is equal to all sales by such global oil giants as ConocoPhillips?

– If all that fails, there is this excellent post about Arevenca’s apparent fraudulent activity.

You can also try to talk to Arevenca President Francisco Javier Gonzalez. I got him on the phone a couple years ago. Mexico at that time was even stricter than Venezuela when it came to foreigners in the oil industry. Only state oil company Pemex could operate in the oil industry. So I asked what Arevenca did in Mexico, and Gonzalez said the company had a refinery unit in Veracruz. I checked, and sure enough, no. No foreign companies had any refinery units in Mexico.

I tried to reach Gonzalez again today so he could respond to issues raised in this article. I left messages at two of the three Skype numbers listed on the company web page. The other one didn’t work. The phone numbers in Mexico and Venezuela were out of service. Two of the numbers in Spain, and the number in Aruba, went unanswered. The Suriname phone number (and address) turned out to be for the Royal Torarica Hotel. Someone did answer at one of the Spain numbers, but kept saying “Oye,” and then hung up. Two additional calls to that number went unanswered.

Arevenca’s luck may turn in the same place that ends so many other Venezuela-based scams: US federal court.

Here’s the case. It’s remarkable.

Arevenca stands accused of having sold some oil products to a supposed Nigerian state oil company called Skanga Energy & Marine. Skanga claims that in 2006 and 2007, Arevenca said it was a subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. The Nigerians did some minimal due diligence, asking the Venezuelan embassy whether Arevenca was legit. The embassy supposedly said yes. The Nigerians claim to have sent $11.2 million in advance freight payments. Needless to say, the fuel never showed up. Skanga supposedly asked Arevenca to refund their money, which didn’t happen. So in 2008, they sued Gonzalez, Arevenca and PDVSA in New York state court for $100 million.

PDVSA got the case moved to federal court and filed this response, denying ever having any relationship with Arevenca. Which may well be true.

The money, if it ever existed, may be gone. A Venezuelan court filing by a lawyer suing Gonzalez for allegedly unpaid bills provides some tidbits about Gonzalez’s alleged spending habits. The lawyer says he helped with legal work around the purchase of a Falcon 900EX private jet and an Augusta AB139 luxury helicopter in December 2008 — several months after the Skanga lawsuit was filed. The lawyer is demanding fees of almost 14 million bolivars, or USD$3.25 million at the official exchange rate. I don’t know if Gonzalez ended up buying those aircraft, but each one sells for about $20 million. (Odd thing about the exact helicopter mentioned in the case is that upon being sold in Florida, it was exported to Lebanon — apparently to be used as the presidential transport, and was reported as a gift from Qatar. So if Gonzalez had any role in that, it’s certainly not clear what the role would have been.)

Of course, it’s not certain that Skanga Energy & Marine is telling the truth, either. How about a little Google for “Skanga Energy“? If you exclude the term “Arevenca,” you get a big 8 hits. OK, maybe it will increase to 9 when I post this. Four are from a maritime directory with no contact info for the company. And one is a site warning of a scam e-mail that mentions Skanga.

Skanga’s lawyers didn’t return two calls for comment.

The point here is, please be aware that there are scams out there. They want your money and will do anything to get it. Fake oil marketers also sometimes target rich individuals for this sort of “advance-fraud scam.”

After following this company on and (mostly) off for years, I was inspired to write about it today because Quico at Caracas Chronicles has been following up on Cesar Batiz’s excellent reporting in Últimas Noticias (Caracas) and trying to find out more about Ovarb, a tiny company with huge procurement deals in Venezuela. He says Ovarb is a total obvious scam. I say sure, it looks scammy — at the least, it doesn’t have any record — but I wanted to show what a real obvious scam looks like.

And look: even the most obvious scam manages to hold a pretty signing ceremony with Avic XAC, which at least appears to maybe be a real company. And they get a paper deal to build the world’s biggest refinery in Cote d’Ivoire, and supposedly get cash money $11.2 million. Nice work if you can get it!

PS: Looks like Arevenca now wants to open a “bank.” Note that the website has the same sort of weird omissions — if it’s a bank, how about instead of telling me you’ll have offices in 20-odd countries, just tell me about account and loan terms? Or what regulatory body you report to? Or whether deposits are guaranteed? Pretty basic stuff — and all missing. But hey, don’t worry, it’s still just an idea. Every page says, “The Bank will be soon open for the public.”

PPS: Meanwhile, they are also trying to start an airline, Fly Aruba. And according to this report, they just flew an Airbus 320 to Aruba, and touted it as the start of the airline. Hm, note that Avic XAC is not a refining company at all, but an aviation company. And the Airbus flight landed in Aruba on the afternoon of Sept. 15, while the signing ceremony news article hit the EFE wire from Madrid the same day. Odd.

PPPS: I hope EFE picks this up, cause the first story is an embarrassment.

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40 thoughts on “How long can Arevenca con men keep winning?

  1. Francisco Toro

    I’m quite literally rolling on the floor laughing with this one!

    But wait, you think that EFE story really is an EFE story? I thought that had to be fake too…I mean, c’mon!!

  2. Francisco Toro

    “Auer bisnus ees a troo bisnus…” Chamo I can’t stop looking at that video… it’s mesmerizing!

  3. virtok

    How can they continue to have a web page like that having commited a fraud of tens of millions of dollars? Wouldn’t it be easy to track them down? It also appears that PDVSA and some people at the embassy in Nigeria are deeply involved. Am I missing something here?

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      Virtok – Well that’s what the accusers say, sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s so. Any part of their story could be false. I haven’t seen any evidence of their due diligence work in Nigeria, for example. It may already be filed in evidence in the case, and I haven’t downloaded everything, but if they don’t have that in writing, they could either be making it up, or it could have been a simple misunderstanding, or who knows what. I know I don’t send $1 to a website without doing some basic due diligence. $11.2 million?

  4. Juan Cristóbal Nagel

    It takes a certain amount of talent to scam the Nigerians.

    This ain’t a blog post, it’s a Coen brothers movie waiting to be made.

    1. Roy

      Juan,

      The only person who is completely invulnerable to a scam is the one who does not have any desire to get something for nothing. A truly honest man cannot be conned. Scam artists are among the most avaricious people out there, and thus among the most vulnerable.

      You are right that this just begs to be made into a movie.

        1. Roy

          What on earth are you talking about? I get that you are referring to the “Radar” O’Riley character from MASH, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

  5. Typo Man

    “The name itself is short for Arenera de Venezuela, Corporacion Anonima”

    I’m pretty sure the proper term in Venezuela is “Compañía Anonima”. But then again, we’re talking about a fake company, so it might not be a typo on Setty’s part, but another sign that they have no idea what a proper business name is.

  6. Jacob

    If the Nigerians would simply provide a bank acct and routing # I’m sure Arevenca would be happy to wire the money…

  7. Lucia

    First I felt really angry while reading this. By the time I got to Juan’s Coen Brothers line, though, I had to grin. Although typically Joel and Ethan take on small-time scam artists…and the scale of this thing is Just. So. Epic.

  8. Anton

    Is amazing how the losers act.
    All you are losers trying to do business in front of your computer, laying to yourself thinking in big business and do not have money for pay the phone card.
    Lies is only way to excuse yourself for be such losers. Envied of the others success.
    Do not have the balls to tell those lies in person, hire being the anonymous names.
    Losers, executives in his dream, winners in his minds.
    I am sure that all your try to make oil business but any of you have one cents in your pockets.
    Searching every day the opportunity to have some moneys for continues live your miserable and darks life.
    I almost vomit when my friend send me this link, all the people are in shock because can see very clear who is the little man being that trash .
    I cannot resist the temptation of telling what I think.
    Go to work, get a life, try to maintain your family. Give some help to your family.
    Make a honest business. Stop to betray the people that trust and help you.
    Of course, a such loser like you do not have shame. You are not a man.
    You are pathetic and cower little man

  9. Anton

    By the way, that company do not have any kind of claim or legal action or lawsuits from the day that star to do business. Only Nigerian scammer are trying to blackmail the company doing this action. And I am very very very sure that the company do not have or get any money from you any of you.
    lossers

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      Anton – thanks for getting in touch. Rather than questioning my motivations, maybe you could start by explaining away what I point out in the blog post.

      You say I don’t have the balls to say things in person. I spent almost an hour of making fruitless phone calls trying to reach Arevenca to give them (you?) a chance to reply. I also left messages on their answering machines. If they want to reach me, they have my contact info and my name. If you work there, check your Skype message box. If one of those Spanish numbers is yours, just check the “missed calls” on your phone, and give me a jingle. I’d love to chat.

      As far as my motivations, I suggest that you ask questions rather than make statements. You don’t know anything about me.

      1. virtok

        Setty, it seems you hurt somebody’s feelings. It never fails: when you expose people like these they will immediately go for the personal attack (you are a looser and things like that) instead of at least trying to argue the matter. Anton (the anonymous person that accuses you of hiding behind anonymity) obviously has no argument.

  10. sapitosetty Post author

    Private to commenter “WEBER”: Thanks for the comment, and I’ll look into it. But I don’t publish anonymous attacks on individuals that aren’t backed by evidence. Please either sign your name or give evidence, or both. Thanks.

    1. virtok

      A “cower” little man. It could be Francisco Javier or Martino. The pseudonim Anton comes from a character from the movie Ratatouille, Anton Ego, the food critic.

  11. Samuel

    Mi nombre es Samuel Rosenberg, y vivo en Curazao, me identifico para que no le quede dudas a este monto de habladores de paja. Yo no sé ingles, asi que traduzcan. MW [NOTE: nombre borrado por Setty, para no difamar a ninguna persona privada sin darle la oportunidad de contestar], eres un pobre hombre y un cobarde. La envidia te está matando. Siempre haces lo mismo, te escudas detrás de un seudónimo para atacar a la gente que te dio una oportunidad a ti y a tu familia. eres un fracasado profesional. viviste de la empresa durante anos, usaste sus hoteles, vehículos, viajaste en avión privado y te pago todos los gastos. nos gastaste ni un centavo en años. te aprovechaste de esa gente a pesar de que yo les advertí que eras un inútil y que nunca has cerrado un negocio decente en tu vida. has vivido del contrabando de combustible y de hacer pequeñas trampas. Te sacaron de la empresa por tramposo. Te apropiaste del nombre de la empresa en Surinam y trataste de chantajearla. tu estas detrás de todas esta mentiras, porque eres un inútil, un cobarde y un envidioso.
    esa empresa lleva años en el mercado y no tiene ni una sola demanda de ningún tipo. Ahhh, los nigerianos, esa gente trata de estafar a la empresa y a Pdvsa, y para lograrlo pone una demanda falsa. Y la pone, donde la empresa no tiene actividad comercial. debieron haber puesto donde la empresa tiene actividad comercial para poder ejercer acciones legales. Pero como la demanda es falsa, la pusieron en usa para chantajear y manchar el nombre de la empresa.
    según ustedes la empresa a incumplido con todo el mundo. Pero no veo ni un solo cliente de la empresa aquí. No veo ni un solo comprador de la empresa hablando mal de la empresa. Todo lo contrario. Pero entonces es bastante raro que nadie tenga nada que reclamarle ni por entregas de producto ni por incumplimiento en los pagos. Qué raro es eso. O será que de verdad es un empresa seria y este delincuente está hablando estupideces porque es un envidioso.?
    Según este inútil, todas las agencias de noticias, el gobiernos de la nación más poderosa del mundo, todos los gobiernos que hacen tratos con la empresa, se pusieron de acuerdo para hacer un gasto gigantesco y un acto ficticio solo para aparecer en internet.
    Lo que tienes que hacer es ponerte a trabajar y reconocer que hay gente que tiene éxito porque trabajan noche y día y no estafan a nadie como tú lo haces, y que la envidia que te esta carcomiendo te la tienes que tragar porque nadie te quiere cerca, lo que haces es causar problemas a todo el mundo y traicionas a los que confían en ti.
    sigue escribiendo basura como lo haces siempre y amenazando, si te hace sentir bien, pero los hechos son contundentes , la empresa es exitosa, en ella trabajan personas honradas y trabajadoras y no tienes manera de ocultarlos como no tienes manera de ocultar lo pequeño y miserable que eres y que todo el mundo lo sabe en Curazao y en Aruba y en todas partes.
    Sigue escribiendo basura, que en basura eres experto.

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      SR. Samuel,

      Antes que todo, muchas gracias por participar en la conversación. Su actitud me parece mejor que otras, es por ello que me he dedicado a responder de manera más profunda, agradezco su honestidad al respecto de lo acontecido, pero sin embargo, me gustaría que pudiese ponerme en contacto con cualquier ejecutivo de la compañía.

      No soy MW, y edité tu comentario para no incluir el nombre de esta persona, porque para mi el asunto de difamación sin evidencia es un asunto serio. Como lo he recalcado en varias ocasiones en este sitio, si quiere contactarme o pedir más información sobre mi identidad, lo que debe hacer es escribir a mi dirección de correo electrónico. No entiendo exactamente que sería el problema entre usted y el Sr. Mike, pero mi experiencia con Arevenca es como periodista, no como empleado.

      Lo importante es, si tiene evidencia que Arevenca es una compañía verdadera, o que su negocio de petróleo existe, o que de verdad tiene 73 buques, por favor mándeme, por ejemplo, los nombres de 1 o 2 buques. O el número RIF de Arevenca. O lo que sea. Algo para mostrar que es una compañía seria, como dice usted.

  12. DCV

    Es impresionante como alguien puede responder con esa gran cantidad de groserías, cuando lo único que debe hacer es responder con hechos. Si Arevenca es tan reconocida y es limpia, debe responder con el nivel de educación debido. En Venezuela hay demasiada corrupción como para no responder seriamente cuando no la debes.

    Si Arevenca no está limpia esa respuesta, es simple y llanamente pataleo en barro.

  13. Robin Hood

    Sr. Samuel – le digo con propiedad que Arevenca es una ESTAFA. A la empresa en que trabajaba este servidor la engatuzaron con un cuento de un jet fuel a cambio de un avion Falcon, menos mal que no caimos en la trampa y al empezar a hacer llamadas encontramos la verdad. Arevenca no tiene refinerias, ni buques, ni producto, a pesar de lo que digan en su portal web. Ofrecieron entregar producto en Veracruz, Mexico, y cuando llamamos a Pemex nos dieron que Arevenca no era propietaria ni arrendadora de ninguna refineria en Mexico ni tenian producto para entregar alli. Idem con otras refinerias. Francisco Javier Gonzalez es un ESTAFADOR de primera clase. Lo reto que proporcione el numero de alguna de sus refinerias, o el nombre de alguno de sus buques. NO existen, solo en su imaginacion. Arevenca esta registrada en Florida, USA, a nombre de un Sr Jose Moreau, quien la registro en Florida a su nombre a peticion de Francisco Gonzalez, ni siquiera fue Arevenca la que la registro (ver http://www.sunbiz.org/corinam.html y ponga el nombre Arevenca) aunque Franciso Javier aparece como “presidente” y Jose es el “CEO” (que risa). En la actualidad Arevenca esta disuelta en USA. Jose le vendia repuestos de helicoptero a Francisco, quien al parecer posee un Bell 206, unico aparato en su “flota” de aviones, y esa es la relacion entre ellos, tan simple como eso. Ahora Francisco se apropio de un A320 que paro en Aruba y con ese hace alarde de una “aerolinea” aunque no tiene permiso de operacion (AOC) ni nada por el estilo. Hay que ver como engañan a la gente!! y espero su amable respuesta Sr. Samuel, para que contradiga lo anterior, y si me escudo en un pseudonimo, pues bueno, tampoco soy tan estupido, pero si quiere diga pues cuales son las refinerias y los buques, nombres, numero de telefonos, etc.

  14. pedro hernandez

    esto es para cagarse de la risa PUES RESULTA QUE AREVENCA FIRMA UN CONTRATO CON AVIC AVIACTION POR MILES DE MILLONES Y TRILLONES Y MAS PERO SU REGISTRO COMERCIAL EN ESPANA ES APENAS POR TRES MIL (3000) MISEROS Y CAGADOS EUROS Y AHORA SI ES VERDAD ME CAGO DE LA RISA POR QUE REVISE Y VALE MAS EL REGISTRO DE HELADOS BONICE QUE AREVENCA

  15. pedro hernandez

    PRONTO MY PRONTO AREVENCA.NET TENDRA LISTA SU PAGINA ESPERENLA SERA UN PORTAL DEDICADO ESPECIALMENTE.

  16. Jorge

    The ridicuolous Arevenca website’s ‘pet cock’ has now become ‘pet coke’…that’s what millennia under the crusts of the earth can do to dead animals.

  17. LINARES

    señores no se dejen angañar arevenca solo existe en las mentes de sus creadores si se les puede llamar as a un grupo de personas de esa indole nada de lo que dice ser arevenca es cierto no tienen refinerias no tienen buques no tienen ningun avion el avion de fly aruba es un simple leasing hasta cuando.

  18. aldo

    WARNING!!
    Arevenca Net | Facebook
    es-la.facebook.com/arevencatrabajó en arevenca.net como (Gerente Propietario), vive en Miami y es de México, D. F. de Arevenca Net. Únete a Facebook para conectar con Arevenca Net y … ,scam scam!!!

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