Who is Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco?
Since Telefonica’s Venezuela subsidiary Movistar is buying a shipping company today (7 August 2009) for a still-undisclosed price through an insolvent Banco Confederado, it’s only fair that Telefonica shareholders should know a bit more about Banco Confederado’s majority owner, Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco. (We also expect to post an analysis of Banco Confederado’s end-2008 financials in the next 24 hours).
A caveat: the following information is taken from an externally audited financial statement through 31 December 2005 that was done by Alcaraz Cabrera Vasquez, the Venezuelan affiliate of the accounting firm KPMG. It does not reflect any of Fernandez Barrueco’s financial holdings including Banpro, Banco Confederado and other banks which, together, account for over five percent of the Venezuelan banking system’s total deposits as of 30 June 2009.
Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco, 44 years old, born 9 April 1965, bearer of Venezuelan identity card (Cedula de Identidad) No. 9,095,496, claims to reside permanently at Residencias Altonueve, Penthouse, Avenida Miguel Otero Silva, Urbanizacion Sebucan, Caracas. Telephone numbers listed on the audited statement are 58414-557-7171 and 58212-951-0122. The 414 exchange is a Movistar cellular telephone number.
Fernandez Barrueco claimed a net worth of over $1.6 billion as of 31 December 2005, including $32.4 million in cash, $411.2 million in “marketable securities”, over $1.14 billion in common stock, $2 million cash value on a life insurance policy, and personal homes worth $16.2 million. His only liabilities were $18,977 of income taxes presumably owed to the Venezuelan government.
And this externally audited net wealth was before Fernandez Barrueco purchased any banks in Venezuela.
As of 31 December 2005, Fernandez Barrueco claims he is (was?) the owner of 41 companies mainly in services, agriculture, agribusiness, fishing, forest products and shipping, as follows:
Services: Almacenes y Transportes Cerealeros ATC CA; ATC Administradora de Transportes de Carga CA; Distribuidora Procasa CA; Distribuidora Procampo CA; and America Food Grain Inc.
Agriculture: Agropecuaria Puerto Miranda CA; Ganaderia El Gran Cebu CA; Productores de Sementales y Semen, Prossemen CA; Ganaderia Portuguesa CA; Fundo Agropecuario Rancho Grande CA; and Agropecuaria El Tesoro CA.
Agroindustry: Industria Venezolana Maizera Proarepa CA; Industria Venezolana Maicera Pronutricos CA; Venarroz RSA CA; Monaca Molinos Nacionales CA; Derivados de Maiz Seleccionado Demaseca CA; Productos y Financiamientos Agricolas Profinca CA; Consorcio Agropecuario Venezolano Coave CA; Algodonera Rios del Sur CA; Corporacion Agropecuaria Integrada CAICA CA; and GRASOCA Grasas de Oriente CA.
Forest/Wood Products: Forestal Trillium Venezuela LLC; Industrias Kondor CA; Consorcio Ecoforestal Venezolano CA; Ecoflorestal Roraima LTDA (Brazil); TUKAN CA; and Forestal Guyana Inc.
Commercial Fishing: FEXTUN Fabrica de Exquisiteces de Atun SA; Frigosa-Frigorificos de Oriente SA; Agricola Palmarichal CA; Agricola La Providencia CA; Aeroatun Venezuela CA; Aeroatun Panama SA; Aeroatun USA Corp; and Mayapesca SA (Guatemala).
Maritime-Naval: Naviera Surantillana CA; Remorca-Remolcadoras de Oriente CA; Naviera Comercial Internacional SA; Naviera Industrial Internacional SA; Naviera Interamericana del Norte SA; and Astillero Braswill Internacional SA.
Veteran law enforcement readers of this post no doubt have noticed that all of these businesses are cash flow-intensive, and some are based in countries (Panama, Guatemala) which are key trans-shipment hubs for certain types of illicit goods. But it’s probably just a coincidence.
However, several factoids not included in his audited financial statement as of end-2005:
*Fernandez Barrueco is known to be a longtime close business associate and frontman (testaferro) for Venezuelan Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello.
*Panamanian law enforcement authorities say Fernandez Barrueco is directly implicated in the abduction in Panama and forced return to Venezuela of Venezuelan citizen Gustavo Arraiz, who is currently jailed in DISIP headquarters in Caracas together with former Banco Bolivar owner Eligio Cedeno.
*Panamanian police sources also believe Fernandez Barrueco is directly implicated in the attempted assassination of the wife of a Panamanian attorney who had a falling out with Fernandez Barrueco.
*Venezuelan CICPC sources familiar with the case believe that Fernandez Barrueco is implicated in the 2005 abduction of Jorge Azpurua, whose father was majority owner of Banpro, which Fernandez Barrueco purchased the same year young Jorge was kidnapped.
*CICPC and DISIP sources tell Caracas Gringo that Fernandez Barrueco is also suspected of being one of the intellectual authors of the February 2009 abduction of Venezuelan banker German Garcia Velutini. These police sources also claim GGV’s kidnapping is part of a strategy aimed at forcing the current shareholders of Banco Venezolano de Credito to sell the bank to Fernandez Barrueco and other Bolibourgeoisie “investors” – all of whom are associated with Diosdado Cabello.