Puerto Rico asphalt company sues Arevenca, Madasi, Miguel Lausell for $13.6 million

Arevenca, the fake oil company long documented in these pages for its deceptive web site and involvement in a failed airline in Aruba, is being sued along with several people who allegedly acted as salesmen for a scam in Puerto Rico. The Betteroads Asphalt Corp. alleges in a suit filed Sept. 4 in the US territory that it bought a cargo of asphalt from Arevenca following a sales pitch by prominent Puerto Rico businessman Miguel Lausell on behalf of local Arevenca representative Madasi Oil Co. The suit accuses Arevenca, Madasi and individuals including Lausell of fraud and breach of contract and demands a refund of $7.8 million that Betteroads spent on asphalt and another $5.8 million in other damages.

Betteroads, according to the complaint and a series of e-mails filed with the court, thought that the $7.8 million it sent to the Swiss bank account of Arevenca would entitle it to a tanker of asphalt, and was disappointed to find that tanker-loads of excuses, lies and delays were wholly inadequate for the task of resurfacing highways and parking lots even in the magical realm of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. After months spent arguing with various representatives of Arevenca, including company president Francisco Javier González Álvarez, Lausell, and others, Betteroads has turned to the court systems of the United States, which seems to be the end-point of many conflicts involving shady Caribbean and Venezuelan operators.

The paperwork in the case shows why suing “joker brokers” like Arevenca is a hassle. The case itself is in Spanish, but much of the documentation is in English and Dutch. There are a host of mystery defendants who as yet haven’t been identified. The main defendant, Arevenca, is identified as an international bundle of companies: Arevenca is a corporation under Venezuelan law but is headquartered in Aruba; Arevenca AKTM is a British Virgin Islands company; Arevenca SL is in Spain; and Arevenca Aruba Holding NV and others are Aruba entities. The suit goes after several people involved in the company, including González, Octavio Alicandro, Paul Bursak and Roger Laurent.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the case is its pursuit of Madasi Oil Corp., which used to brag of being Arevenca’s sole representative in Puerto Rico. The case names Lausell and his colleague Marcos DaSilva as defendants. DaSilva, who has appeared on these pages before, is apparently a bit of a sad sack broker with the bad luck to get mixed up with not only Arevenca but another underperformer called Gatrex.

“You have no idea what you’re messing with,” DaSilva said in a phone interview. He accused this website of repeatedly defaming him, while declining to describe specific statements that he considered defamatory. If this site continues defaming him, he will sue, take away the blog and “te voy a partir en cuatro,” he said, using an expression that can be translated literally as “slice you in four” but I think means something more like “screw you.”

DaSilva said that Madasi was a victim along with Betteroads, and that he had represented Arevenca in hopes of earning a commission. However, all the contracts were between Betteroads and Arevenca, he said. He declined to comment on the content of the case, saying he had yet to see it.

Lausell is in a whole different league. He is a bigwig. To quote his bio from the web page of investment company* Talos Partners, which lists him as a member of the board of directors:

Lausell and DaSilva in happier times, click for original

Miguel D. Lausell … served as president and chairman of the board of directors of Ponce Bank, a $1 billion plus institution, from 1990-1998. …he served as president and chief executive officer of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company … vice chairman of Cap Cana, a $2 billion plus tourist development in the Dominican Republic. … chairman of FransGlobal, which owns Angel’s, Camille’s, Taco Maker and Jack’s franchises… national finance board of the Gore 2000 Committee… partner of the Democratic National Committee’s Leadership 2000 Board, and he was a partner of the DNC in 2004…. senior political advisor to U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign…master of laws degree from Harvard Law School…

So to be clear: Harvard Law, president of a bank, president of a phone company, and then representative for Arevenca? An odd career path, and one I really, really want to understand better. How did he end up wrapped up in Arevenca?

I called Lausell to ask about his relationship with Arevenca a couple months ago and he declined to comment, saying the situation was “under investigation.” He declined to elaborate on what sort of investigation he was referring to.

The person who answered his personal mobile phone today hung up on two calls from different numbers. Lausell didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment today.

According to the complaint, Lausell introduced Arevenca to Betteroads. He and Arturo Díaz Jr. were once neighbors. Díaz is the 90-something patriarch of the family that runs Betteroads. Lausell allegedly visited with the elder Díaz June 25 of last year to offer real estate services for a beach development that Díaz was building. Madasi got a contract to “facilitate the sale of Coco Beach,” according to the complaint.

Two weeks later, on July 11, Lausell, DaSilva and three members of the Díaz family met again about real estate, and the Madasi guys pitched Díaz on a tanker of asphalt at $88 a barrel. July 14, they cut the price to $80 — that’s $8 million for 100,000 barrels. Díaz went for it. July 15, Betteroads transferred its first $2 million to a Swiss bank account for Arevenca.

(I’m not sure quite what asphalt was going for at the time, but I calculate that it was around $100 a barrel based on midwest prices and EIA formulas.)

Betteroads’ bank had the good idea to request references before transferring the next $5.8 million out of the company’s line of credit. E-mails filed as part of the case show Lausell vouched for Arevenca’s credibility. He forwarded a letter sent to Arevenca by a minister in Aruba, bank references from around the world, and even a page copied out of the Fall 2007 OPIS/Stalsby Petroleum suppliers catalog, which included Arevenca.

Come mid-August of last year, and Betteroads asks for an asphalt sample and shipping information. Madasi says, you need to pay the rest of the invoice before we give you shipping info. Betteroads gets the price cut once more — this time to $78 a barrel. And on August 18, they send the $5.8 million balance to Arevenca.

From there, the e-mails stretch into oblivion as Lausell, DaSilva, and González himself send notes begging for time, apologizing, and occasionally growing indignant, accusing Betteroads of having screwed everything up.

Meanwhile, as we now know, Arevenca was busy leasing an Airbus jet and trying to start a new airline.

The same month, Arevenca produced this bizarre press conference in Spain to announce the signing of the biggest oil deal ever, a $2 trillion deal with a small Chinese aircraft maker.

September saw volley after volley of e-mails between Betteroads and Arevenca, but no asphalt arrived. Same with October. And November. Yes, even at the end of November, Arevenca and Madasi continued to insist that the asphalt was in the mail.

I have to say I doubt that Betteroads is going to recover much money. And of course the case has just been filed; we have yet to see any of what the defendants have to say. You never know what surprises may lie in store. But I’m glad to see a US suit against a joker broker, as it shines light onto a kind of scam that thrives in darkness. Kudos to Betteroads for being willing to take on those who allegedly robbed them — it’s a favor to all of us.

*Update: According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc., Talos is currently inactive. It last filed a disclosure form in 2009, when it had six accounts with a total of $2.3 million in assets under management. The company’s chairman, CEO and managing partner was/is Robert V. Brazell, who started Overstock.com but resigned.

30 thoughts on “Puerto Rico asphalt company sues Arevenca, Madasi, Miguel Lausell for $13.6 million

  1. john Crudin

    it is appalling how people can be so gullible. When we received the first offer from Arevenca we asked them to give us past references and none ever was given. Later on around 7 months Madasi show his nose but we were lucky to see your comments on setty note book Congratulation for your splendid work on theses bunch of crooks

    1. sapitosetty Post author

      Tienes toda la razón: es perfectamente posible que todo esto no es lo que parece. Entiendo que hay una investigación criminal también. No tengo muchos detalles.

  2. NACHO

    Hi every one. Unfortunatelly for me I am one of the eployee of Flayruaba.
    Still waitng for my las 5 salaries. I ve never got even one salarie.
    Congrattulation for your amazing job in this web. Every single thing you say in here is more than truth, and Arevenca and Flyaruba and the rest of business related with this venezuelan guy FJG are a big scam.
    The worse part for me is why the low in Aruba still dindt stop him??

  3. don

    identification number:8679541 passport number 027777440
    Octavio rafael alicandro briceno: Born: Venezuela ,search it and you’ll see
    we know him very well here in venezuela

  4. don

    octavio rafael alicandro briceno ESTAFADOR, SWINDLER,Oplichter,he survived by scamming people ,he pretends he’s a millionaire but he has not one penny,the people who work with him are suckers because they believe in him and his lies.

  5. S men

    I’m really worried now that i’ve found this info since a madasi representative has contacted us to buy part of our company, and has ofrered a large amount of money. Is there any way to know ir madasi is still a Solid company? Se don’t live in Puerto Rico, any info would be really helpful

  6. aldo


    Mr. Octavio alicandro claims that he has oil product that comes from Arevenca refinery or anywhere else in the world which is not true,Do not do business with this gentleman is a scam octavio alicandro is nothing but full of lies he pretends he is millianar but he has nothing he has only debts , he survived by scamming people with his sweet talk he takes everyone in the grind he promises and promises but it’s all lies,He acts like he knows everyone and that he has good contacts all over the world He’s just a person in between,whenever he does business he always does like he is the owner of the product or the vessel (ship),previously he was a contractor in venezuela but by his lies and trickery He is sent to court in venezuela ,he is known as a show men only blarney Octavio is just a normal person he is like a broker in petroil, he is no important person what he likes to pretends to be. octavio his family is not rich they live just on margarita island venezuela decent people

    Octavio’s very good at what he does He knows exactly how to trick the people in to his lies He believes in his lies this guy is a born professional crook that’s why francisco put him in Arevenca. , he seeks suckers and tries to sell non-existent oil the people who do business with him, believe in him and his lies and that one day they will become rich they believe in a dream that will never come true certainly not with Arevenca (Octavio alicandro) because it’s all lies He’s just a big scammer with sweet talk and he is very sure of himself and his lies the whole thing is a transparent scam and a waste of time and money.He is known as a big crook,if you do a deep research on this gentleman then you’ll see for yourself,

    http://www.tsj.gov.ve/…/RC.00741-111209-2009-09-476.htmlCompartir11/12/2009 – … representada por su presidente ciudadano Octavio Rafael Alicandro Briceño, y patrocinada judicialmente por las abogadas en ejercicio de ..

    Sentencia nº RC.00741 de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia – Sala de …
    jurisprudencia.vlex.com.ve/…/ram-mota-zarate-construcci…Compartir11/12/2009 – … Juan Ramón Rafael Mota Zarate contra Proyectos y Construcciones Albric, … por su presidente ciudadano Octavio Rafael Alicandro Briceño, …

    23.830 – TSJ Regiones – Decisión
    nueva-esparta.tsj.gov.ve/decisiones/…/282-6-23.830-.htmlCompartir47, Tomo 50-A., ciudadano OCTAVIO RAFAEL ALICANDRO BRICEÑO y el ciudadano ARIDANES GREGORIO FELIPE RAMOS, venezolanos, mayores de .

    1. Richard

      We received some months ago a proposal FOB Mexico Veracruz Port from a company called Dion Corporation, Imola Gian Paolo trough a broker in Buenos Aires, R&B Inversiones Alarico Suarez. The supply proposed was from a Refinery called Arevenca Refinery Complex (same logo above) quantity of 25 million tons yearly Diesel Low sulphur. We tried recognize it on the Mexico and we found a lot of Refineries like Pemex, Salina, Tula etc…but nothing information about such Arevenca Complex.
      Do you have more informations?

        1. Richard

          to be honest seems these companies a scam…on the paper big numbers but no real structure, or I mistake?

        2. Richard

          can be real these bilionares investements??
          Arevenca Refining Complex, aware of the importance of the environment and the limited life that has oil as energy source, is investing in research and development projects in the mining area to discover new alternative energy.

          In 2010 it plans to invest billions of dollars in projects of Bauxite, Alumina, wind, hydroelectric generation of power, atomic energy and sources of non-conventional energy.

          Also it is planned acquisition of multinational companies related to the area, to broaden the base of refining and exploration in the area of non-conventional energy sources.

  7. aldo

    gino schwengle also works for Arevenca he works at the office in Aruba He’s like octavio he pretends he is correct but is also a great rascal skype:gino swengel He is very good friends with glembert croes clembert croes has put him in Arevenca

  8. leonardo

    ]We received a quotation from our agents in Swiss with an asignacion of D2 prffoposed by such Dion Corporation and signed by his Director Gian Paolo Imola with a supply of 2 millones MT monthly CIF Rotterdam. We tried to negociar with them and Arevenca with his Director Alicandro Octavio and we discovered that they are fraud brokers without Reffinery and products. They try to obtain letter of credit by Buyer and then take uprfront by banks…..but the products is only on the paper, it is “virtual”. We tried a lot to obtain a soft POF or to visitate their Refinery and obtain referencia on the market but nobody kwnown these people. We stopped our transaction before to open the credit de line, our due diligence has been negative against them.

    Does anyone know where exactly is this refinery located?
    They claim to have refineries in USA, Mexico, Aruba, Venezuela, Surinam, Spain,Ivory Coast and South Korea. My search has brought no information about physical location.[/QUOTE]

    1. Ignacio

      Hi Leonardo. Writing from Spain. I used to work for FlyAruba, the fake airline . After 5 months working we never got any salarie. There is no oil,no refinery every thing is a big scam and the owner of the scam Francisco Javier Gonzalez and his crew are all scammers. Don’t trust a word from this people. They lie people with out any sensibility . The Low is working here in Spain against him. And he is been sued in Aruba too and many more places.

    2. Richard

      Hi Leonardo, same by us, we received bigger quotation of D2 for assignacion of 25million tons yearly signed by Dion Corporation Imola Gian Paolo and Arevenca REfinery Complex Octavio Briceno Alicandro. How is possible that they can freely work on the market without consequences?

  9. SG

    Strangely Miguel Lausell has a link to IIMSAM- http://iimsam.org/facilitators.php?region=carib, http://iimsam.org/facilitators.php?region=carib and Remigio Martin Maradona http://iimsam.org/director2.php
    IIMSAM also issued a Diplomatic LP which is a travel document to Khaled Shaheen, a convict from Jordan who was arrested in Germany and deported back after INTERPOL issued a red corner notice against him. Apparently Khaled Shaheen made a generous donation of USD 2 million to IIMSAM.

    Click to access 118642_7_1.pdf

      1. SG

        It is very important that the link to IIMSAM is explored professionally by competent authorities; and the media should highlight it. All the roads shall lead to Rome.

  10. 90584147899970


    1. sapitosetty Post author

      Con respeto señor, de qué está hablando? A quién va a demandar y denunciar? Frente qué autoridad? Nadie ha dicho nadie con respeto a usted. Alguien sí citó una decisión del TSJ que mencionó su nombre. Eso no es denunciable. Buen día.

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