Archive for the 'MaletagateTrial' Category

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part IX: Antonini talks to the Head of DISIP and writes to Hugo Chavez.

September 26, 2008


Well,
corruption does not go any higher than this:


First, the Prosecutor in the Maletagate trial in Miami presented the letter
which Guido Antonini wrote to none other than President Hugo Chavez, the supposed savior of
the people and sweeper of corruption, which
said
more or less:

“Dear Commander Chavez, the money stayed at the airport and I stayed there with
the promises of those that were in the flight. I saw the Head of Security of
PDVSA carry the suitcases on the plane, where there was another suitcase with
money already. I am now a man being hunted for something I did not do. Only you
can give me the guarantees and a document saying that I left Caracas
with that money. I need it to save my good name (sic), I also need two million
dollars to pay the lawers.

I joined the trip to talk to Uberti about a deal related with the building of
the gas pipeline, but Uberti had no intention to talk to me. He had dinner and
saw the movie..I would like you to know that I am very grateful for your help
in solving this case”

No wonder Chavez calls him a traitor!


Later, in an audio tape supposedly between the Head of the Venezuelan
Intelligence Police General Rangel, accused last week by the US
for cooperating in the FARC’s drug trafficking, Rangel
tells Antonini
to stay calm, that he understood his anguish and told him he
did not have a copy of the letter to Chavez…but, says Rangel, there is no
problem…and we are working to solve the problems down south. Later, Rangel
says that he received instructions from the man he wrote the letter to, at
which point the Prosecutor asked Antonini who that referred to and  he
answered: Hugo Chavez.

Rangel also says “The kid I sent there gave me the
information you had, I need you to name someone to take care of the financial
part”

Later, in an audio tape between Duran and Antonini, where
Antonini mentions the letter to Chavez, Duran tells him: ” If you get too
close to the sun, you might burn yourself”

The defense began then questioning Antonini and said
he had evidence that Antonini and Duran had a disagreement for a US$ 23 million
deal for building home in Uruguay.
(Which is another story, as this case was raised in Uruguay’s
press, suggesting they set up a company to build homes in that country with
Venezuelan money. The houses we4re never built, but somehow US$ 23 million left
the company’s account and landed in that of Antonini’s wife. This was reported
in Uruguay,
but it is the first time it is mentioned in the trial or anywhere else)

In another tape, Duran tells him that this is being handled at the very top and
that nobody at the middle levels knows about it.

Can it be any juicier, dirtier and clearer than that?

All I am waiting for is Hugo Chavez to come on TV and say parodying a famous US
politician many years ago: ” I am not a crook”

Corruption does indeed run all the way to the top in Venezuela and the fact that General
Rangel is still at his position and nothing is being investigated here simply proves it!

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part VIII: Antonini begins testimony, confirming US$ 4.2 million in second suitcase

September 24, 2008

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A thinned
out Guido Antonini showed up in Court today and basically confirmed a lot that had been said before or
that had been dug up by Argentinean newspaper la Nacion.

Among the highlights:

—Antonini confirmed that
PDVSA VP Diego Uzcategui asked him two days after the suitcase was caught where
the other suitcase with US$ 4.2 million was.Antonini claims he had no idea
about it.

—Antonini also confirmed
that his suitcase was checked after most of the others were already in the
cars.  While his suitcase was being inspected Daniel Uzcategui stayed with
him and took some US$ 30,000 from the suitcase at some point.

—He also reiterated what
the secretary of Claudio Uberti had said, that Antonini did indeed attend a
reception at the Argentinean Presidential palace, the Casa Rosada. At that
reception, the Minister of Planning of Argentina greeted him, contradicting the
Minister’s statement that he does not even know Antonini and Claudio Uberti at
that same reception offered him “whatever he wanted from Argentina”
because he had done a great favor for that country. At that reception he says
Ramirez sees him, but does not say hello to him.

—Antonini testified that
both Duran and Kauffmann offered him their jet planes to go to Spain or Israel until the storm over the
Maletagate scandal had passed.

—In the tapes played,
Duran says that PDVSA will give the money (for Antonini) to the DISIP and these
in turn will give it to his lawyers. Duran states that he does not trust
Minister of Energy Ramirez, saying “Ramirez and Uzcategui got you into
this problem”.

No new dramatic
revelations, but consistent with what the tapes said and what Duran, who is
being accused discussed earlier in the tapes. The Minister of Planning of
Argentina has tried to deny knowing Antonini and or his presence at the
Presidential Palace, but both Antonini and Uberti’s secretary have confirmed
it.So far the main facts of the story are consistent with the tapes.

As people have said in the
comments: “Pass the popcorn” the robolution will continue to
entertain and surprise”

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part VII: The mysterious ways of Venezuelan Justice as Maionica and Kauffman are charged in Caracas

September 22, 2008

On Friday, the Venezuelan Prosecutor ordered the capture
of Carlos Kauffmann and Moises Maionica for unknown reasons. Thus they have
become the three people who have similar orders of capture in Venezuela when you add  the guy with suticase Guido Antonini.

Funny, the only three people in the case with such orders
happen to be exactly those testifying against the Venezuelan Government. But, for example, Daniel
Uzcategui, the son of the PDVSA Vice-President who got Antonini on the plane
has not been charged, neither has Franklin Duran, despite the large number of
corruption acts that Duran himself admits being involved with. BTW, tonight
Globovision reports that the defense in the Miami case has asked that a conversation between
Uzcategui and Antonini taped after Duran was in jail, not be admitted as
evidence since it is hearsay because Uzcategui will not be a witness in the
trial. (while Chavez complains that Antonini has not been sent to Argentina, neither has Uzcategui been sent to that country)

To say nothing of Antonio Jose Cachinca, the former military
who is a member of the Venezuelan intelligence police and went to the US and met
with Antonini and was taped telling him that he would be protected. (We still
have to hear that tape)

Then of course, there are the non-existent investigations on
all of the people mentioned in either corruption or cover-up charges such as
former Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez, who has visible new-found wealth he could not account for,
former Minister of Finance Tobias Nobrega, General Rangel of the intelligence
police, former tax Superintendent Vielma Mora, Minister of the Interior and
Justice Al Aissami, the Governor of Cojedes State, the Governor of Vargas
State, former Minister of Education Aristobulo Isturiz, Minister of Energy and
Oil Rafael  Ramirez, his assistant.

All of those are involved in the case to the hilt, but the only
three charged in Venezuela are precisely the only three testifying against the
Venezuelan Government

Such are the mysterious ways of robolutionary Venezuelan Justice…

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part VI: Will Maletagate become ONUgate?

September 17, 2008

In the latest shocker from the Miami trial, there is a tape in which accused Franklin Duran also talks about buying votes for Hugo Chavez at the United Nation, when Venezuela tried to obtain a seat in the Security Council in 2006. Recall that Chavez tried by all means to do this and it all ended with a compromise that left Venezuela out.

In the tape Duran is talking to the suitcase man Guido Antonini and Carlos Kauffmann and tells them “The President lost, so you know it…The President did not win that shit…But he lost because of himself, not because he did not do the job to get the votes”.

Antonini replies: “What do you mean the UN?

Kauffmann: “Those flights were for that”. Antonini: “What for?” Kauffmann: “So that the “negritos” (diminutive to black men) voted in the UN”

Duran says to Antonini :” What do you have in your head?” to which he replies: “Do you think what I have is not important?”

Someone (either Duran or Kauffmann) then says:

“He is telling you, what do you think those flights were for? Do you think the Government wants, jerk, that Franklin’s credit card shows up paying flights for “chinitos” (little chinese). Can’t you imagine what a mess that will be? Don’t jerk with me!

Antonini then says: “Did we do it with Muslims too?”

There you have it. Now the corruption tentacles of the Chavez administration reach the United Nations where he tries to use his petrodollars to buy votes to exert political influence.

Not that it surprises us, but here is another little bomb that may turn Maletagate into ONUgate very quickly as Venezuela looks more and more like an absolute outlaw country.

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part V: La Nacion charges PDVSA maletagate airplane was carrying US$ 5 million

September 14, 2008

Argentinean
newspaper La Nacion charges today

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in an
investigative article that the infamous plane chartered by PDVSA which arrived
in Argentina carrying Guido Antonini and his US$ 800,000 in a suitcase, was
actually carrying the whopping amount of US$ 5 million in cash.

According to La Nacion,
PDVSA’s Vice President Diego Uzcategui had asked his son Daniel and Guido
Antonini were the remainder US$ 4.2 million was and others heard the question.

Moreover, charges La
Nacion, in the dialogues in the Miami trial, the witnesses do not talk about
“the suitcase” but “the suitcases” in plural, a subtle
point noted by the reporters investigating if there was more cash in the plane.

In one dialogue Antonini
asks why Rafael Ramirez is washing his hands now and Duran replies: “He is
not washing his hands, he can no longer was his hands. Because it was his
assistant who carried the suitcases to the plane”.

Prosecutor Thomas Mulvihil
has mentioned that there were other funds sent to the Kirchner’s campaign but
has not expanded on that point.

According to the sources
of la Nacion, the rest of the cash was in a large suitcase (or two) and not a
carry on like the one taken away from Antonini. La Nacion also identifies
Rafael Ramirez’ assistant, the man in charge of the suitcases as a man whose
last name is Reiter. In another dialogue Antonini notes that he was one
passenger who was given “one” suitcase. Later, Antonini also says
that he has made lots of those trips.

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This makes
a lot more sense. One of the things I never quite understood was why risk
sending US$800,000 like that an amount that would have little impact in the
campaign. You had to send an awful lot of airplanes to have an impact. It also
explains why the plane was chartered. Enarsa and PDVSA had a joint venture
which had no operations or cash flow, it made little sense to rent a jet for
that flight, there was no urgency or very high ranking officials involved.
Recall Claudio Uberti was in charge of toll roads in Argentina and he was the
highest ranking person in the fligtht.But the US$ 5 million certainly justified
it!

We should learn more about
this in the upcoming days, showing the degree of corruption and unethical
behavior in the leaders of the Bolivarian and Argentinean robolutions.

Heads up PMB!

How Maletagate, Chavez theatrics and US Treasury sanctions are all connected

September 14, 2008

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So much stuff, so little
time. The last 72 hours have been whirlwind of events and information to
digest, but it becomes simply impossible to write about everything going on.
While everyone has concentrated on Chavez kicking out the US Ambassador,
nobody seems to wonder why it is that Hugo always kicks out Ambassadors over
fuzzy issues which you can blame on anyone but the Ambassador, but continues
having relations, commercial and otherwise with the respective countries, only
to later kiss and make up in each case.

The answer is obvious;
because Chavez would not dare t break relations that could have a real impact.
In fact, the silly communiqué issued by the Foreign Minister gives Chavez 72
hours to leave the country from almost the second the autocrat ordered it, but
wait…this just in…

US Ambassador Frank Duddy
was not in Venezuela
and the Chavez administration knew it, but you have to get theatrical over the
whole thing and that was all they were really doing.

And from all that I have
gathered, it was all first class theater. You see, it appears as if somehow
with the aid of the Cuban G2, the Chavez Government got wind of the sanctions against
the heads of the Civilian and Military Intelligence services of Venezuela and
Chavez’ Minister of the Interior (when he found out what was coming he removed
him). Thus, in the face of this possibility Chavez decided to act first, to
make it look as if the sanctions were coming in retaliation to Chavez’
expulsion of Ambassador Duddy and his not so friendly speech on nationwide TV.

Thus, while Chavez may be
indeed planning to stop the elections somehow, and we may see a link to this
accusation of someone trying to ill him as the basis for arrests that will lead
to a scenario of no elections, the truth is that the theatrics surrounding
Duddy’s expulsion seemed exclusively aimed at diluting the impact of the
accusations against.

Because the sanctions
against the trio of Venezuelan high officials originate in the infamous Reyes
computer where the three are named in various sections. In fact, I have covered
before in these pages how deeply involved Venezuela’s former Minister of the
Interior (twice) Ramon Rodriguez Chain has been involved with the FARC. His
contacts and connections with the FARC date to the 80’s and there has been
ample documentation on it, including him publicly welcoming FARC leaders to
Venezuela, getting them Venezuelan papers and his now infamous words of
encouragement to the FARC guerrillas as he led the rescue of some hostages,
which was covered by a Telesur video camera.

We had mentioned before
that FARC papers explicitly mentioned Rodriguez Chacin for offering the FARC
weapons in exchange for training, as well as a famous note by the FARC, saying
that Rodriguez Chacin was truly a “badass”, which must have some meaning coming
from such badasses as the FARC.

Well, here is the what the
Treasury Department had to say
about Rodriguez Chacin, who BTW, in his
first installment as Minister of the Interior was later found to have two sets
of Venezuelan “cedula” umber and under the second one he held an account in a
local bank with something like one and a half million dollars at the official
rate of exchange:

Ramon Emilio Rodriguez
Chacin, who was Venezuela’s
Minister of Interior and Justice until September 8, is the Venezuelan
government’s main weapons contact for the FARC. The FARC uses its proceeds from
narcotics sales to purchase weapons from the Venezuelan government. 
Rodriguez Chacin has held numerous meetings with senior FARC members, one of
which occurred at the Venezuelan government’s Miraflores Palace
in late 2007.  Rodriguez Chacin has also assisted the FARC by trying to
facilitate a $250 million dollar loan from the Venezuelan government to the
FARC in late 2007.  We cannot confirm whether the loan materialized.

And then there is the Head
of the Civilian Intelligence Police General Henry Rangel Silva, who has held
the position for the last three years and who has appeared prominently in the
Maletagate trial as having been in charge of solving the case for Chavez and
PDVSA. Rangel has been involved in rescuing Venezuelan cattlemen who later
turned out to have been kidnapped by the FARC, He also appeared in some
documents where he was supposedly coordinating attacks on Colombian
paramilitary with the FARC. Here is the accusation against him by the Treasury
Department:

Henry de Jesus Rangel
Silva, the Director of Venezuela’s Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention
Services or DISIP, is in charge of intelligence and counterintelligence
activities for the Venezuelan government.   Rangel Silva has
materially assisted the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC.  He
has also pushed for greater cooperation between the Venezuelan government and
the FARC.

Note in particular the
statement that General Rangel Silva “has materially assisted the trafficking of
narcotics by the FARC”. Now, may skeptics may suggest this are trumped up
charges, but given the dramatic increase in drug trafficking via Venezuela in
the last ten years, it is clear some higher ups have to be helping it.

Finally, there are the
accusations against the Head of the Military Intelligence Services General
Carvajal Barrios, who has been part of that service for the last eight years.
He has been in charge of the accusations of assassination attempts and coup
plots, producing not a single convicted person in the previous 28 cases
investigated and this week is the first time that he has found someone he could
detain. (They could still be set free!):

Hugo Armando Carvajal
Barrios is the Director of Venezuela’s
Military Intelligence Directorate (DGIM).  His assistance to the FARC
includes protecting drug shipments from seizure by Venezuelan anti-narcotics
authorities and providing weapons to the FARC, allowing them to maintain their
stronghold of the coveted Arauca Department.   Arauca, which is
located on the Colombia/Venezuela border, is known for coca cultivation and
cocaine production.  Carvajal Barrios also provides the FARC with official
Venezuelan government identification documents that allow FARC members to
travel to and from Venezuela
with ease.

Carvajal’s case was
documented from Reyes’ computers, which has been certified by Interpol as not
having any evidence of tampering, but has also led to arrests of FARC
collaborators in Colombia, Thailand and Central
America.

What is
most interesting about these sanctions is that it orders the assets of the
three men in the US frozen, something that should really instill fear in those
“robolutionaries” who maintain significant assets in the US (It is not that
they are dumb, they thought they were untouchable!) and could show up in a list
at any time, either via the Miami trial or further evidence from the FARC. You
see, the Miami trial involves not only corrupt civilians that paid commissions
to Government officials for contracts, bank deposits and influence, but these
guys in turn acted as fronts for many of the same officials and “managed” their
money for a nice fee of 20% per year. Many of these guys thought they were set
for life even if Chavez 

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part IV: Live from the cesspool of the revolution!

September 11, 2008

Today the Miami trial brought the first tapes of the men
that tried to cover up the origin and purpose of the infamous Antonini suitcase
which was accidentally discovered when it arrived in Buenos Aires and more details
of both the suitcase and the cover up came up today, showing in magnificent
detail how cooked and corrupt the robolution is.

Lawyer Moises Maionica continued his testimony as we got to
hear the first tapes of those promised by the Prosecution. In his testimony,
Maionica said that Duran told him that the Superintendent of Taxes Vielma Mora
could provide a fake form to justify the origin of the money in the suitcase
for Antonini.

Later, the Prosecution played a tape in which
Antonini and Duran both speak and Antonini asks Duran: And Tarek? Does he know
too? To which Duran responds: “Of course”. What’s his full name asks Antonini
and Duran answers “Tarek Al Aissaimi”. Antonini then asks what his position is
and Duran replies “Vice-Minister for citizen security” and Duran says that Tarek
is above the Head of the Intelligence Police DISIP.

At one
point in the conversation
Antonini gets on the phone and asks Tarek how he
is and then says: “My problem in Venezuela, it can be solved? The reply is not
heard but then Antonini tells him: “Thus. I should not even worry. Thanks. A
big hug”

Later a tape was played in which Antonini, Carlos Kauffman,
MosiesMaionica and the lawyer that was supposed to take care of the case in
Argentina participate. Duran then adds that he would be out by February 28th.
2008, after Argentina’s judicial vacation. Dura adds that there are elections on
November 28th. and there is a risk that if Cristina (Kirchner) does
not win “they are going to hit you hard with a bat…if the opposition wins you
are going to be the scapegoat.”

Antonini then replies that if he talks, everyone will go to
prison to which Duran says that the truth is the Argentineans will only defend
their land and he has to give a signal that he is not going to sell out. When
Antonini asks who guarantees that he will not end up in jail if he turns
himself in Argentina, the lawyer says:” Chavez and Kirchner”

Antonini then says: “The only weapon I have is the truth.
They tell me this is a political disaster”

Antonini says it was Argentinean Claudio Uberti who asked
him to take the suitcase.

He then asks for guarantees and is told he can keep half the
money (US$ 400,000), but Antonini asks for more.

Duran simply asks: “How much do you want?”. Antonini asks
“Who is going to give it to you” and he is told:” It doesn’t matter to you” Antonini
then says:” I am going to ask you for a million dollars and Am I going to go t
jail?”

Duran says: “You will not go to jail”, to which Antonini asks:”
Why is Rafael Ramirez (President of PDVSA) washing his hands?

To which Duran replies: “He is not washing his hands, he can
longer was his hands. President Chavez knows that it was Ramirez’ assistant
that took the suitcase to the airplane”

Maionica also testified that Rangel Silva told him that it
was all an error by Rafael Ramirez and Claudio Uberti and Diego Uzcategui. The
suitcase was intercepted due to the delay in the plane to Buenos Aires and the
absence of the person that was supposed to allow it to go through. Somebody
should have been waiting for it, but because of the late hour nobody was there
and that made it impossible to jump the usual procedures”

“The plane arrived late and that allowed for the
interception” said Maionica.

Maionica could not be much clearer than when he said: “My client
was the Venezuelan Government and I participated in the case representing it in
order to help Antonini, who I did not know”

If you believe Maionica and listen to the tapes, it is clear
that these guys were acting indeed on behalf of the Crooked Venezuelan
Government and that the whole thing stinks up all the way to the top and
reveals the depth of corruption in the cesspool that the Chavista revolution has
become.

Just think, corrupt men who did not have a penny ten years ago, now help and conspire to move cash in PDVSA private charters accompanied by high Government officials. With the cooperation of high level Venezuelan officials they try to cover up the evidence, using cash, lies and attempting to build a fake paper trail. They are caught and there are tapes and testimony that go all the way up to the top to Hugo Chavez the same man that said he would clean up corruption in Venezuela, only to magnify it and allow it to go unchecked.

With that plot line, in any decent country the President would have resigned long ago. But not in the Chavez robolution where corruption and kickbacks are now the norm and used to control the collaborators of the autocrat.

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part III: Let the Duran trial and the fireworks begin!

September 9, 2008

(In Spanish here, en espańol aqui)

It was the first actual day of the Maletagate trial in Miami and both the
prosecution and the defense began their arguments. The fireworks have begun and
it is clear that there will be interesting revelations in the upcoming days if
the initial skirmishes are any indication.

Prosecutor Thomas Mulvihill presented his case and said the money carried
by Guido Antonini into Argentina, in the suitcase in the PDVSA leased airplane,
was a favor to accused Franklin Duran and that Duran himself had told Antonini that
the money
was intended for the campaign of Argentinean President Cristina
Kirschner. The Prosecution also charged that the money came from PDVSA.

Prosecutor Mulvihill sad he would present tapes showing not
only that Duran and friends were acting as agents of the Venezuelan Government,
but that they called Guido Antonini in Miami from the headquarters of the
Venezuelan Intelligence police (DISIP). He added that there was a strong
participation of the Venezuelan Intelligence police in the case all the way up
to its Director
Henry Rangel Silva.

Duran’s defense countered by saying that it was
Antonini who asked Duran and his brother Pedro to give him a hand in the case
and that they went to the now Minister of the Interior and Justice Tarek Al
Aissami, seeking for assistance, but that Duran never contacted the Head of the
DISIP whom he does not know and never tried to force Antonini to lie.The defense also said that Duran told Antonini to get a lwayer in Argentian to defend him in that country.

The defense tried to put the blame on Antonini seeking a
solution to the case and charged that Guido Antonini tried to cover up the
facts and was
requesting
that the Venezuelan Government pay him US$ 2 million in order to
cover up the case. He charged that Antonini wrote a letter to President Hugo
Chavez under the coaching of the FBI requesting the money and that such letter was sent to the President via the Venezuelan Consul in Miami.

The defense suggested the case was simply political in order
to make the Hugo Chavez Government look bad by turning the case of a friend
trying to help another into a case of spying.

The first witness in the case was one of the accused men who
pleaded guilty, lawyer Moises Maionica. Maionica, know to have strong ties to
then Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez (He was the lawyer for fingerprint company Cogent),
testified
that initially the case was left in the hands of PDVSA President
Rafael Ramirez, but he was later relieved of his control of the situation.

According to Maionica’s testimony, Hugo Chavez directly
assigned the task of dealing with the problem to the DISIP and that Rangel Silva, the DISIP
Director told him the President was upset about the matter from an operational
point of view.

Meanwhile in Caracas, newly appointed Minister of the
Interior and Justice (sic), said he would not respond
to the garbage of the US Empire and that “he has held many positions but it is
only now that he is in charge of the Ministry this campaign begins…less than 24
hours after being named, this garbage comes out” I guess the Minister does not read
this blog, which published the information that he would be involved in the
case, well before anyone knew he would be appointed Minister.

Thus, the first day began with lots of fireworks on both
sides. It is clear that Duran’s strategy is to say he was helping a friend, but
he does not intend to help the Venezuelan Government in the process. The
Prosecution, on the other hand, seems to have a lot of evidence in the form of
tapes and the like which could severely bring into question the arguments of
the defense.

Stay tuned!!!

Chavez’ appoints Al Aissami to replace badass Chacin

September 8, 2008

And how about Chavez’ sardonic sense of humor, removing “badass” Chacin from the Ministry of the Interior today and replacing him with none other than Tarek Al Aissami, the only high Venezuelan official whose picture was submitted as evidence in the Miami Maletagate trial. I guess Chavez juts wanted to make sure that the link to the Venezuelan Government by the men charged goes to the highest possible places.

Talk about timing! Or simply adding some fuel to pyre of the Miami trial?

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part III: Jury picked out, trial begins on Tuesday

September 6, 2008

As the Jury has been picked out in the Maletagate trial, we
learn that Globovision will have a reporter at the trial, which will help us
learn all of the details of the case. Her name is Verioska Velasco and you can
hear one of her reports here
and as you can see they try to establish the link between the Chavista
candidate for Mayor of the Metropolitan area, Aristobulo Isturiz, and the case,
as Isturiz was Minister of Education when the funds from that Ministry were
moved to an unspecified bank by Duran and Kauffmann who received a juicy
commission.

Duran’s lawyer tried to have the charges against his client
dismissed arguing that Duran was not aware
of the obscure legislation being issued to try him. The judge has already
dismissed that possibility, saying this was irrelevant and dismissing the
argument.

The Judge has yet to rule on a separate motion by the
defense to bar any evidence of prior crimes by Duran and Kauffmann as irrelevant
to the case. The Prosecutor however, has argued that this is quite relevant as
it shows Duran already had strong ties to the Government, which were a prelude
to offering Guido Antonini money to keep silent as to the origin of the US$
800,000 found in the suitcase as he entered Argentina. The Prosecutors argument
is that while Antonini and Duran were friends, Duran’s offer was made in order
to help the Venezuelan officials he was working for. In the earlier stages of the case Duran told FBI
agents about his corrupt exploits in Venezuela which now the Prosecution wants
to use in the case as evidence.

The jury selection was completed in two days and the trial
should begin on Tuesday. The prosecution has videos and tapes of the
conversations between those accused, of which Duran is the only not to plead
guilty by now, and Guido Antonini as they tried to convince him to stay silent.

If the judge allows the testimony of the prior illegal acts
by Duran and Kauffmann in Venezuela, the Prosecution is expected to have
Kauffmann testify on all of the techniques and schemes used by him and Duran to
obtain juicy commissions and pay off Venezuelan Government officials many of
which are still in office.

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