Archive for February 17th, 2006

A remarkable description of the Government’s involvement in agribusiness as well as funny bussiness PART III

February 17, 2006


PEPwatch Venezuela:
Beware of government-controlled private corporations (Part III)


By Ken Rijock


We have
previously discussed the threats posed by private corporations owned by
individuals who front for governments or national leaders, and by the dangers
of governmental minority ownership of closely-held companies. In this, our
final segment, we cover the private corporation that operates as a de facto government agency, and whose
primary activities aid in the implementation of government policy, but in whom
both legal and equitable ownership is privately held.


Skim milk masquerades as
cream.

Where it suits national
policy, private corporations are convenient and anonymous instruments that can
perform commercial acts deemed necessary by government. In the intelligence
field, such controlled companies are frequently known as proprietaries. They
often perform covert or illegal operations, such as money laundering, where the
government does not care to be linked to either the activities, or their
consequences. Such companies also are utilised in a combination of both overt,
traditional and legal business, and “black” operations, but both varieties
serve the same master. Today’s analysis of one such organisation is instructive
in both understanding the tactics and strategy typically employed, and the
investigative tradecraft that is necessary to unmask such a company’s true
nature. As we have previously stated, the inability of compliance to timely
identify government-controlled companies can be ultimately fatal to one’s
institution. In the last article, we identified the Lebanese Muslim Khalil brothers
as close associates of Venezuelan national Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco. The
brothers own and operate an organisation dedicated to supplying Venezuelan
government agencies with seafood, high-technology and military equipment. As we
shall see, their operations clearly fall into the de facto government agency category.

Compliance officers please
note:


- Khaled Khalil Majzoub,
born Galed Khalil Massub, on 26 August 1965, Cedula No. 6290182, sometimes
incorrectly shown as 6290185. The validity of his identity document was an
important issue in the past with a large North American multinational firm,
which terminated its relationship with a firm when Khaled purchased it. Was he
really born in Lebanon
? We cannot say, but his birth certificate was not filed until 1970, one day
after his brother’s was registered. Khaled is a reputed radical Islamic
fundamentalist, and the communications director of Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz
Mosque in Caracas
.


- Majed Khalil Majzoub,
born Massed Khalil Massub, on 23 April, 1970, but incorrectly appearing upon
his birth certificate as 23 January, 1970 . His Cedula No. is 13526338. He
enjoys close relationships with pro-Chavez politicians and the military.


The benefits of preferred
status.


The Khalil brothers, like
their comrade, Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco, emerged from obscurity during the
early years of the Chavez government, which has favoured certain companies with
major contracts, easy access to loans, and tariff-free import licenses. Such
preferred companies are assisted in placing their products in the local market
through government-funded social programs, through entities such as CASA, the
Agricultural Service Program, and PROAL, the Strategic Food Program, both of
which bought from the Khalil organisation. The Venezuelan government has also
assisted, or conspired with certain preferred companies in tax evasion and
customs crimes. We note that the Khalil companies are believed to evaded large
amount of taxes, notwithstanding their many lucrative businesses


Evidence of the incestuous
ties between the Khalil companies and the Venezuelan government:


- They purchased the Eveba
Group, a major seafood provider, from the Castro Iglesias family, a transaction
that reportedly was facilitated by Diosdado Cabello Rondon, born 15 April,
1963, Cedula No. 8370825. Sr. Cabello, was formerly Venezuela ’s Vice President, and
Minister of Infrastructure, and is presently the Governor of Miranda State . He
is one of the most powerful men around Chavez. Also linked to the sale was Adan
Coromoto Chavez Frias, born 11 November, 1953 , Cedula No. 3915103. The
President’s brother, he is currently Venezuelan Ambassador to Cuba .
Distribution of Eveba products is currently being conducted by Molinos
Nacionales C.A, a/k/a Monaco
, owned by Mexican agro-giant GRUMA, whose recent sale of part of their
enterprise to Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco was detailed in our last article. This
but another demonstration of the close ties among the New Bolivarian Elite.


- They shipped computer
equipment and, reportedly, sophisticated surveillance equipment, to Venezuelan
military and intelligence agencies. Majed Khalil, who is said to have a close
relationship with Francisco Rangel dating back to the period when Rangel was a
general officer, is alleged to have outfitted the situation room, in the
basement of the Miraflores presidential palace, with electronic espionage
equipment.


- Their organisation was
reported, by Venezuelan media, as having supplied Maiquetia Simon
Bolivar International
International Airport
with new radar, communications and navigation equipment. It is also believed by
Venezuelan media to be supplying Venezuela ’s military with weapons
and other hardware.


- Rumours abound of
involvement of the brothers in money laundering, counterfeiting, drug
trafficking and contraband smuggling, in concert with corrupt Venezuelan
politicians and military officers.


Companies associated with
the Khalil brothers are:


In Venezuela:


RIGOMAR AGENTES ADUANALES C.A

HARDWELL TECHNOLOGIES C.A. a/k/a GRUPO HARDWELL TECHNOLOGIES C.A.
QUALCOM TELESISTEMAS C.A.
EMPAQUE VENEZOLANO DE BACALAO, a/k/a EVEBA
AGROINDUSTRIAL PROEBA
PRODUCTOS PISCICOLAS PROPISCA S.A.
DUSTRIBUIDORA AGROMAR C.A.
ANCHOAS DE ARAYA ANDARSA S.A.
RECUPERADORA CASTRO IGLESIAS
AGROFORESTAL BARIMA C.A.
ALIMENTOS DELTA a/k/a ALIDELTA
INVESSIONES OVINOY S.R.L.
RIGOPLAS C.A.
SARDIMAR C.A. NUEVA ESPARTA
PRODUCTOS PISCICOLAS PROPISCA
DESAROLLOS SERFOCA C.A.
GRUPO JARBOL C.A.

In the
United States :


HARDWELL COMPUTER INC.

ORINOCO ENTERPRISES, INC.

In the
Republic of Panama :


GENERAL TRADING COMPANY,
S.A.


As we have shown, though
these companies may appear to be privately owned, their acts and deeds are
clearly governmental in nature. Money laundering reporting officers and
compliance officers must practise enhanced due diligence when considering
account relationships with any company located in a jurisdiction where covert
governmental ownership is probable, or where recent events suggest the possibility.
Compliance vigilance is made even more urgent by the realities of the post 9-11
world, where nuclear, chemical, or biological agents may be on the hidden
agenda of the government-controlled company or its masters.
Government-controlled companies are wisely avoided as unacceptable high-risks.
Watch out for them.

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