PDVSA Pension Ponzi: Javier Marin, Luis Lugo, Hispanic News Press sued

Like many people of my VTR generation, I grew up watching “Better Off Dead” way too often. Who knows, maybe court-appointed receiver John J Carney also watched it a lot. In any case, it’s clear he is eager to collect his $2.

What now? He wants to pull back $1.7 million from Javier Marin, Luis Lugo and Hispanic News Press. Who? Here, let him give you the rundown, from the complaint:

Marin and Illarramendi grew up together in Venezuela, and their families were close… in 2005, Marin had moved to the United States and had become involved in various business ventures, including defendant Hispanic News Press, Inc. (“HNP”). Marin had a constant need for money to support himself and his businesses, and repeatedly counted on his friend Illarramendi to bail him out of financial difficulties. Illarramendi used stolen investor money to help pay for Marin’s apartment in New York, help Marin keep HNP afloat, and to buy out his business partner Luis Lugo (“Lugo”), among other things. Marin never paid back any of this money, and also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional fraudulent transfers….

Marin is the principal and owner of HNP. He is the former co-owner and managing director of Descifrado, a Venezuelan news outlet.

This case is really turning into the Rosetta Stone of Venezuela relationship mapping. I mean, really? Descifrado? The same one that was once owned by Danilo Diaz Granado, who also supposedly was involved in inventing structured notes, which also relate to Moris Beracha and Illarramendi… Now please, take note — there are many players here, and I don’t know who if any did anything wrong. To read this complaint, against Marin and Lugo, it’s got a very different tone — harsh, but considerably less so than with Habeck or Beracha.

To me, this is a bit odd. They recount a bit of their questioning of Marin:

the Receiver deposed Marin on January 10, 2012. During his testimony, Marin was unable to describe the services he delivered to Illarramendi in return for these payments, beyond a vague description of “business intelligence” gathered from journalists in Central and South America. Nor could Marin quantify the amount of time he actually spent working on behalf of the Receivership Entities. Upon information and belief, these transfers were gratuitous payments of Receivership Entity funds and not paid in return for actual or legitimate services. The term “business intelligence” was nothing more than a label to cover up the misappropriations by Marin.

Beyond these grossly inflated payments for little or no work, Marin received payments from Receivership Entities to help him purchase an apartment, buy out his HNP partner, pay a personal debt, support his company, and others for seemingly no apparent reason at all. Marin provided nothing of value in return.

Yes, it’s totally possible that their hypothesis is correct. Or maybe Marin was actually working, but doesn’t want to say what he was doing. Or maybe he was getting paid to not publish bad news. It happens. I just today heard about a reporter being offered a bribe to not publish. And then there’s this famous case.

So it may be a bit off to say that Marin provided “nothing of value.” Who knows, really.

I certainly don’t. Sr. Marin, if you have any comments at all, please write to settysoutham at gmail.com. I promise to print verbatim.

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