CARACAS, Thursday December 17, 2009 | Update
The banks recently bought by Fernández Barrueco fell down first: BanPro, Bolívar, Canarias and Confederado (File Photo)
Ricardo Fernández Barrueco was first. Last November 20th, at 4:00 p.m., he appeared on his own at the Directorate for Intelligence, Security, and Prevention (Disip). Since then, he heads the dozen of bankers and senior executive officers detained by a wide array of operations that forced nine domestic banks into bankruptcy.
Then the Attorney General Office filed charges for diversion of funds of the account holders, misappropriation of loans and scheming, in a case where new and old businessmen agreed to buy banks with the cash of these institutions.
According to economists, the bankers used account holders' money to enlarge their business pools.
Nine international capture warrants have been requested from Interpol. There are, in addition, 15 foreign travel bans; 10 imprisoned bankers and senior executive officers and a list of more than 30 people wanted.
The banks recently bought by Fernández Barrueco fell down first: BanPro, Bolívar, Canarias and Confederado. Later, it was the turn of Baninvest, Real and Central, headed by Arné Chacón Escamillo and businessman Pedro Torres Ciliberto, whom the judiciary has not publicly summoned.
Last week, however, ended with a new surprise: on Friday, November 11th, there was news of Banorte bankruptcy. Like in a domino effect, eight banks have fallen down. While the government initially talked about open-door seizure, the outlook changed on November 20th.
And the case continues: in registry and notary's offices there is a list of 49 companies forbidden from selling or encumbering. Among them, Tecnología Smartmatic de Venezuela and Santa Bárbara Airlines are noteworthy.
Political implications, however, are still more noteworthy. Even Jesse Chacón quit the Ministry of Science and Technology due to his direct kinship with his brother Arné. President Hugo Chávez promised that he was far away from the corruption unveiled by the case. But all the while major opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup had told names of people very close to Miraflores presidential palace.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
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02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.