Tag Archives: lawsuit

Keeping up with the old stuff: Beracha case dismissed

Sorry I never posted this last week. I was one of the few outlets to write about Moris Beracha being sued for his alleged profits from Francisco Illarramendi’s hedge-fund-gone bad. So I should note that the US government dropped its case against Beracha last week. Thanks to Latin American Herald Tribune for staying on top of this. Beracha insists in their article that he has lost $100 million to the whole mess, and is a victim, not a perpetrator.

Given that the main Illarramendi case is now up to 891 filings and some related cases, like Beracha’s, extending well past 100 filings each, I have long since stopped paying for and reading these documents. I hope someone someday can be arsed to do so. Have fun.

(Oh look, Odo & Nancy Habeck’s case was dropped back in 2013. I should really keep more on top of these things.)

Reich vs the Derwick guys: A huge wait-and-see

Three alleged leaders of Derwick Associates, a company that won several procurement and construction contracts from Venezuela’s state oil company in 2009-2010 are being sued in US district court in New York by former ambassador Otto Reich. Reich alleges that the Derwick paid kickbacks to powerful Venezuelans including Oil Ministers Rafael Ramírez, and also spread lies to interfere with Reich’s business. The lawsuit names Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, Pedro Jose Trebbau Lopez, and Francisco D’Agostino Casado† as defendants. The first two have long been associated with Derwick in news articles. D’Agostino is better known to the society pages; he is a finance guy with an office in Panama. I had no idea he was linked to Derwick, and the complaint doesn’t provide proof. (Alek Boyd has a bit more on him here.)

Reich was a US diplomat to Latin America during the Reagan-Bush years, including a stint as ambassador to Venezuela, and was the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under George W Bush.

Derwick Associates is a small company that gets electricity industry construction contracts in Venezuela and then outsources the work, largely to ProEnergy Services of Sedalia, Missouri. It also works with General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, according to the complaint. I’ve written herehere and here about Derwick. The company has been the subject of investigative reports by César Batiz in Venezuela, alleging overcharging and possibly  and the company’s ham-handed reputation management got the attention of blogger Alek Boyd. I also wrote about the company when its lawyers sent me a note demanding I take down a blog post. I didn’t remove it and I never heard back from them.

The lawsuit starts with its biggest claim: that Derwick paid bribes, via intermediaries to Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez, former Basic Industries Minister Rodolfo Sanz, and a relative of an executive at state electricity company Corpoelec. One of the intermediaries was allegedly Nervis Villalobos, who previously appeared in Batiz’s article about Derwick’s planes, as having possibly traveled alone on a plane owned by Derwick.

Quoting from the suit itself: Continue reading