Yes, I know: Blogger Alek Boyd is a pain in the ass, and he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But sometimes it takes a pain in the ass to really dig into a story.
And that is what he’s doing with Derwick Associates, one of the companies that supplies equipment and services to the Venezuelan state electricity industry at what newspaper Últimas Noticias said were inflated values. Yes, Derwick, the company whose lawyers sent me an annoying but self-defeating letter telling me to take down a page because it contained material referred to in a defamation case in Florida.
Today he runs a translation of Cesar Batiz’s original article that exposed Derwick along with other companies such as Ovarb. Boyd’s Derwick coverage is worth reading if you care about oil-related corruption.
Derwick Associates: Exhibit X of Venezuela’s Corrupt Criminals The first in the series, this one I don’t love cause it calls these guys criminals. I like to reserve that term for people who have been convicted. But whatever, the rest of the post is a great read.
Derwick Associates & ProEnergy Services A very interesting post pointing out the possible legal problems for a US company doing business with Derwick. I should add that Derwick itself is probably a US company under the FCPA law.
Derwick Associates & FTI Consulting [updated] Adventures in reputation management. This is a great post. I have seen the same thing, and not just from the Derwick folks. You see the same thing with everyone involved in this case — their google searches start to get more positive with time. Also be sure to read the updates he posted two days ago, these are really interesting details.
Hugo Chavez using proxies to prosecute critics in US Courts I’m not sure about the accusation that Chávez is behind this whole thing as a way to take down the Banco Venezolano de Crédito. Actually no, I am sure: I don’t buy it. If Chávez wants to take down that bank he can do so without involving US courts. I think he comes closer to the truth in the next post,
Derwick’s Digital Strategy: Keeping Up Appearances on Park Avenue This one also has a full English translation of César Batiz’s story that started this whole thing rolling.
There is plenty more to say about the Derwick case in Florida, but I think I’ll stick to the obvious: they are very unlikely to prevail. It’s hard to prove defamation in the US. And I hope this case goes into a discovery phase where the defendant gets to request any document that can show the truth of what was published. That would be a gold mine for reporters.
Also, like Boyd, I have noticed that posts touching on alleged overcharging in Venezuela have drawn visitors from US authorities, particularly from Treasury and FBI. This doesn’t mean Derwick is under investigation, but it does mean that US authorities are interested in this general category of situation.