Tag Archives: arevenca

Arevenca end game? González jailed in Venezuela (Updates on everything #1)

Yes, this blog is mostly shut down, as I am now working full-time. I’m just updating some old stories. Please note that this is just my personal research and thoughts, no connection to my employer.

Maybe you remember Arevenca. It’s mostly a guy named Francisco González, with a few colleagues and family members. Using the name of a defunct sandlot on the coast of Venezuela, Arenera de Venezuela CA, he pulled a series of big, long cons over the last decade. They include:

I first covered Arevenca here and I wrote about it in Vice and CJR.

As you can read in the Vice story, González and a string of accomplices — some of them apparently themselves victims of the deception — hit a home run with the Díaz family in Puerto Rico, extracting US$7.8 million for a nonexistent shipment of asphalt. The Díaz family has been going after him for years in Aruba, Puerto Rico and Spain. A month ago, after González failed to show up to court in Spain too many times, the court issued this arrest warrant:

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Soon, Venezuelan authorities arrested him for possible extradition to Spain.

After a few relatively quiet years, González had just recently popped up again. First, the Arevenca Bank website was redesigned.

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And then there was this letter to Venezuelan Trade Minister Jesús Farías, offering Arevenca’s British Virgin Islands corporation as a source of US$10 billion in financing for food imports to Venezuela.

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In addition to all of this, González is also facing legal processes in the USA. And Aruban authorities auctioned off his helicopter.

Whether González ever goes to trial, however, is an open question. Article 69 of the Venezuelan constitution says “Extradition of Venezuelans is prohibited,” and the Venezuelan justice system isn’t exactly a model of efficiency. But in any event, this guy seems to be nearing the end of his run.

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PDVSA Wins Another One, Lucky Igbinedion Not So Lucky

 

Enrique Arrundell, former Venezuelan ambassador to Nigeria

Enrique Arrundell, former Venezuelan ambassador to Nigeria (Source: Venezuela foreign ministry, via Flickr)

PDVSA has won dismissal of a case in US federal district court in which a podunk front company in Nigeria was trying to put the Venezuelan state oil company on the hook for as much as $600 million.

140315 skanga-arevenca-pdvsa questions

Francisco Javier González, head of Arevenca, with Suriname President Desi Bouterse (Source: Arevenca.com)

The case is long and contorted and I’m not going to spend all day trying to sum it up. I wrote it up here and then I wrote another note here when I found out that the Nigerian company was actually a front for Lucky Igbinedion, the former governor of Edo state who since leaving office has spent most of his time fighting off corruption charges and pleading guilty to money laundering. I also gave you a little window into Enrique Arrundell, the one-time Venezuelan ambassador to Nigeria who, from the looks of it, was a dick to his employees when not busy telling his Nigerian friend Igbinedion to give money to Arevenca, the world’s foremost supplier of nonexistent petroleum.

Lucky Igbinedion. Source: pointblanknews.com

Chief Lucky Igbinedion, former governor of Edo state, Nigeria. (Source: pointblanknews.com)

But yours for no extra charge, here’s the judge’s decision. It’s a pulp novel all by itself. If you, like me, enjoy a good narrative, you might want to download this and give it a read. The word that jumps out at me throughout is “not.” As in, things are “not” as they seem.

Skanga’s primary shareholder was Chief Lucky N. Igbinedion (“Igbinedion”). Igbinedion was the Governor of Nigeria’s Edo State at that time.… Skanga had not engaged in any commercial transactions with any entity before the alleged transactions that led to this litigation.… The website does not describe Arevenca as an oil company, or disclose any relationship with PDVSA.… Imoukhuede does not suggest that there was any discussion of Arevenca at the meeting.… The letter does not refer to Arevenca. PDVSA did not respond.… The purported agreement was not documented.… The Certificate of Quality is likewise a fabricated document. Skanga does not argue otherwise.… The wire receipts, however, do not reflect a payment of $1.4 million, but instead reflect two transactions of November 10, 2006, of $580,000 and $470,000, respectively, for a total of $1.05 million. The owner of the numbered account listed on the wire transfers has not been identified.… because he did not have the funds to pay the $2.8 million in freight charges, he obtained a “loan” from a Nigerian company named “M.R.S. Oil & Gas Ltd.” (“M.R.S.”) to make the December 2006 freight payment. The 2006 and 2007 annual corporate filings for M.R.S. reported that the company had not commenced business and had current assets of less than $12,000.… The two purported shipments did not arrive in Nigeria.… “Venezuelan diplomats [are not] empowered in any way to speak on behalf of PDVSA or its affiliates.”

And the key paragraph, dismissing all claims against PDVSA, Arevenca and Francisco Javier González Álvarez:

PDVSA’s April 17, 2014 motion to dismiss Skanga’s claims against PDVSA is granted. The claims against defendants Arevenca and González are dismissed for failure to prosecute. The Clerk of Court shall close the case.

Enjoy! That link again.

PS (updating): PDVSA’s vigorous, successful defense in this case comes in contrast to some other cases I could mention.

Lucky Igbinedion mixed up in Arevenca case, gets press in Nigeria

The weirdest case I’ve tracked since I started this blog has been that of Skanga, a little unknown Nigerian company that is suing Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) for at least $100 million for supposedly taking part in an advance-fee fraud against the Nigerian company. It’s a long and convoluted story. I wrote up one piece last year in a piece called, “PDVSA faces $100 million lawsuit over ambassador’s alleged con man links.” I also wrote a little piece on the same topic in Venezuela’s El Mundo newspaper at the time. Later, I gave a little update on the Venezuelan ambassador at the center of the scandal.

Today, I see my pal Nicholas Ibekwe has published a story based on the latest filings in the case, which show that corrupt (no “allegedly” needed, he pleaded guilty to money laundering) Nigerian governor Lucky Igbinedion and his brother Bright were the registered owners of Skanga during the period in question. There is more, much more, but for now I want to point people to Nicholas’s story. I have to admit I don’t like the style of Nigerian journalism — I would never write that I “can authoritatively reveal” anything. But I’m happy to see this story getting a bit of play in Nigeria, where most of the weirdness went down. One way or another, the people who took part in this game deserve a bit of publicity. Whether it’s for their cleverness or foolishness isn’t for me to decide. The story link again.

Checking in on the Venezuela ambassador to Nigeria

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 9.15.51 AMHey remember how a long time ago I wrote about His Excellency Enrique Arrundell, representative of the Venezuelan state in Nigeria, and how he was allegedly mixed up with the con men who run a fake oil company known as Arevenca? That case is trudging along; PDVSA lawyers plan to depose this  Skanga company about its relationship with Arrundell, Victor Halliday, Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Reynaldo Bolívar, former Caracas Mayor Juan Barreto, former Trujillo (Venezuela) state governor Hugo Cabezas, and His Excellency S.A.A. Adeniran, Nigeria’s ambassador to Venezuela. True to form, Skanga’s attorneys demanded $75,000 from PDVSA in order to pay their fees while they attend the deposition of their clients. More good use of Venezuela’s oil income — paying for fancy air tickets and hotels for US lawyers going to Nigeria.

Continue reading

Dino Bouterse arrested, old friends free

Dino Bouterse, son of the president of Suriname, was arrested today in Panama to be deported to the US on allegations of drug smuggling.

Moving up in the world, I see. This was him in 2010 with a couple guys who look vaguely familiar.

Representantes-de-Arevenca-con-Dino-Bouterse

 

(Update a week later — seems Dino was pals with lots more interesting characters in Venezuela.)

PDVSA faces $100 million lawsuit over ambassador’s alleged con man links

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.42.21 PMPDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, will have to defend itself in US court in a bizarre $100 million case that involves the Venezuelan ambassador to Nigeria, a 2-person law firm in Mississippi, a white-haired Caribbean con man and imaginary tankers full of fuel.

It all started in 2006, when the Nigerian government created a new state fuel import company called Skanga Energy & Marine. Managing Director Christian Imoukhuede approached Venezuelan representatives in his country about buying diesel and gasoline. According to Skanga’s lawsuit, he spoke to Enrique Arrundell, Venezuela’s trade consul, who told him he’d have to work with an agent, rather than buying directly. The agent was a company called Arevenca. Continue reading

Look who is doing online reputation management: Arevenca!

My favorite long con, Arevenca, has made a Youtube channel and a blog and is now taking me on in the Search Engine Optimization wars. But hey, I like to help, so here’s a link to the con-men. Also, here’s their lying sack of shit Google+ account and their bogus Youtube channel.

Oh sorry did I forget their pack of lies on Slideshare? And as usual a bligoo account. For some reason the only time I ever end up at a Bligoo account is when I’m googling liars. And they have Pinterest, if you want to see the smiling faces of one-time friends. And what reputation management campaign would be complete without LinkedIn? (Note the address, here is the Google Street View image of the now global HQ of this 3.5 million barrel a day refiner.)

By the way, Don Francisco Javier Gonzalez has gotten some interesting plastic surgery. You can see his real face on the Pinterest site, he’s the white-haired guy. The Google+ face is rather different.