The authorities of the United States hope that the international community, including Spain, will investigate the origin of the fortunes that the leaders of Chavismo and their associates and relatives have extracted from Venezuela and dispersed throughout the world through complex transfers to opaque deposits, many of them in offshore accounts in tax havens. This week, a leak of bank documents in the possession of the US Treasury revealed that a small number of entrepreneurs It has taken advantage of its proximity to Nicolás Maduro to take out of Venezuela almost 5,000 million dollars, about 4,200 million euros, 70% of which comes from the state coffers, especially from food programs and public housing.
The stratagems of these entrepreneurs, using complex transactions and opaque accounts in various countries, have allowed them hide those billion dollar fortunes extracted from a country plunged into a serious economic and humanitarian crisis, victim of a shortage of food and basic necessities, including medicines and fuel from generators.
In the United States, the Prosecutor’s Office has followed the trail of that money, and accumulates a large number of complaints against Venezuelan millionaires whose patrimonial fortunes have an uncertain origin. For example, in April the US authorities revealed that in recent years $ 450 million diverted to the US by so-called “Boligarchs”, the Bolivarian oligarchs, have been seized.
As Carrie Filipetti, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Ibero-America in the State Department said yesterday, “many countries have highlighted the importance of their sovereignty to justify the fact that they do not want to get involved in Venezuela.” According to this diplomat, the recent UN report on abuses and violation of human rights in Venezuela it is another added reason for those countries to take more drastic measures. “I think that seeing what the regime is doing to its own people, these crimes against humanity, should mobilize those countries that do not want to influence too much elsewhere, but do care deeply about human rights, to involve more ».
The BuzzFeed digital newspaper obtained 2,100 secret documents FinCEN, an acronym for Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which is a division of the United States Department of the Treasury that amasses records on bank movements in a large database created to reveal money laundering and other tax crimes. In the period between 2009 and 2017, these documents reflect a constant flow of transactions from ministries and public agencies in Venezuela to offshore accounts where a group of businessmen from that country and their relatives hide the funds. Upon receipt of those documents, BuzzFeed investigated the transactions with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
There are many occasions in which US diplomacy has asked Spain directly to investigate the fortunes of Venezuelans related to Chavismo who lead lives of luxury in Madrid. A year ago, the special envoy of US diplomacy for Venezuela, Ambassador Elliott Abrams, said on a visit to Madrid: «We have recalled in talks with the European Union that there are people in Europe who spend money here generously. that he has stolen from the Venezuelan people. ».
In the same vein, the US charge d’affaires against Venezuela, James Story, spoke last week, saying in an interview with ABC that “it is important for Spain and other countries pay attention to the source of financing of these families.