Nacional y Política
sábado 28 de mayo, 2011
Makled's case
Makled & Cia

As many other companies of renowned alleged drug kingpin Walid Makled, Aeropostal went to the hands of the Venezuelan State at the end of 2008

There is no way to have a look at the case file of Venezuelan Aeropostal airlines. "It is in custody." It is like saying that this folder cannot be touched.

As many other companies of renowned alleged drug kingpin Walid Makled, Aeropostal went to the hands of the Venezuelan State at the end of 2008. The Venezuelan government seized this and other goods shortly after finding almost four tons of cocaine in a farm rented by the Makled family in Tocuyito, central Carabobo state. Since then, all that is known about the destination of the property of Makled and his brothers is that it went to the Venezuelan government.

Even in public files of Venezuelan registry offices, everything related to Makled is "in custody." There is no interest to air the details of each of his companies. Perhaps because some of them not even are in his name. Businessman Nelson Ramiz warned against it in a motion for appeal brought on May 16, 2008 at the judicial circuit in Caracas metropolitan area.

Ramiz attested to this situation several months before Makled was prosecuted for the crimes of paid assassination, drug trafficking and money laundering. And he was adamant in his statement now from Miami, on the other side of the phone. "Checks bounced; the sale of Aeropostal was a swindle."

Pleased to meet you, my name is Walid
First time they met, it was a businessman-to-businessman cordial talk. Makled called Ramiz to express his interest in the airline.

The stoppage in December 2007 made Aeropostal's troubles come to the surface. It lasted a few hours. However, the event unleashed another, protracted strike organized not by in-house staff, but by the Venezuelan National Civil Aviation Institute. The board would stop selling tickets in Christmas time as long as the company would make its situation formal.

This is what Ramiz calls "bullfighter's sword thrust." He is positive that they had their eyes on the company. Before spending the corporate reserves, in 2008 a buyer showed up, promising to soothe the headache. He was Walid Makled.

He introduced himself as a concessionaire of Valencia airport and several warehouses at the dock of Puerto Cabello. Everything was apparently running smoothly. Nevertheless, before anybody could object to the sale of the airline, Ramiz warned that two things were needed: "Money and political liaisons." Got it! The seller gave the green light. Apparently the buyer was in possession of the two cards

Some weeks later, Ramiz was signing in New York a conditioned sale agreement in installments together with Basel Makled. Nowadays, the latter shares some of his brother's charges. However, the three million US dollars checks which ensured the key of Aeropostal's offices bounced in the United States. The checks, previously signed in Venezuela by Walid, were bad checks.

"Then, they would tell me that they were having cash flow troubles," Ramiz recalled. "I went to Venezuela, visited Aeropostal's offices at Torre Polar. However, some agents of Carabobo state police would not let me in to speak to Makled."

In this way, the impasse went to the court. Ramiz filed a complaint for fraud at the Public Prosecutor Office and, later on, he filed a motion for appeal against Caracas Fifth Commercial Registry Office.

"They recorded the sale with forged documents. I personally appeared at the Registry Office, but they did not let me do anything."

A washing machine, but not for laundry
"In order to expand their business and legitimize the funds from their operations in Carabobo, they went in quest of a vehicle for them to have clout inside and outside Venezuela and freely move their shipments," reported daily newspaper Reporte in its edition of May 27.

The full-color front page aimed at Makled: "Aeropostal... another chapter of the Syrian Sopranos."

"They have turned Aeropostal into a washing machine, not precisely of dirty clothes," the newspaper admonished on May 27 in an article signed by Luis López/CJ.

Translated by Conchita Delgado