Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco: The First Domino?

Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco’s fall from the commanding heights of Bolivarian grace was stunningly swift. Is he going down alone, or will other Bolibourgeois “bankers” lose their banks and their personal freedom soon?

Is Fernandez Barrueco’s sudden demise an isolated event, or is he the first domino in a government move to take over all of the insolvent Bolivarian banks associated with the regime?

President Hugo Chavez praised Fernandez Barrueco as a true socialist entrepreneur in 2006 during an Alo Presidente broadcast. But now Fernandez Barrueco is jailed at Disip’s Helicoide headquarters, already condemned by the regime publicly as an”organized delinquent.”

The Attorney General’s Office reportedly plans to charge Fernandez Barrueco with alleged crimes under the Organized Delinquency Law and the Presidential Decree partially reforming the Banking Law.

Fernandez Barrueco’s alleged crimes include the purchase by three of his banks of BsF 1.2 billion (BsF 400 million per bank) from a brokerage company called Inverfactoring. This is $558 million at the official exchange rate or $222 million at the swap rate, says Devil’s Excrement.

The domain name Inverfactoring.com appears to be owned by two servers which are owned by Inverunion, whose owner is Gonzalo Tirado, the financial “entrepreneur” who created Stanford Bank de Venezuela. Tirado for years has been a key “banker” and bagman for senior regime figures.

Fernandez Barrueco also purchased BsF 443 million of rights from Activos Corporativos AG, another Caracas brokerage company. This is $200 million at the official exchange rate or $82 million at the swap rate. We’re still looking for the identities of its owners, though it appears to have offices on the third floor of Centro Empresarial La Lagunita (Office 313), and lists its main business activity as “manufacturing,” according to an Internet business listing.

Not a peep of protest or support has come from any of Fernandez Barrueco’s longtime associates, like Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello and Adan Chavez, the president’s older brother and former ambassador to Cuba. However, the government’s decision to arrest Fernandez Barrueco and prosecute him for alleged organized crime has the potential to blow up into perhaps the biggest political and financial corruption scandal the Chavez regime has experienced.

Fernandez Barrueco is a walking encyclopedia in terms of his broad knowledge of the Bolivarian revolution’s systemic corruption, including how it’s organized, who’s who in the regime’s criminal hierarchy, and where the money flows. Fernandez Barrueco is “Mr. Arepa” in the Bolivarian revolution. His food companies have been primary suppliers for Mercal and Pdval for years. He also owns commercial fishing, canning, cattle ranching, farming and other agricultural assets – and several shipping companies.

Caracas Gringo was told on 20 November that there is some discussion within the regime about the convenience of charging Fernandez Barrueco with conspiring to assassinate President Chavez. Sounds far-fetched, but if the report is accurate it suggests the Chavez regime is going to bury Fernandez Barrueco behind bars for a very long time.

Sources close to Fernandez Barrueco say he is being framed, that he is the victim of a conspiracy. Perhaps they are right, but who are the conspirators? Fernandez Barrueco for years has been a frontman (“testaferro”) for Cabello, and more recently he also was in “business” with the president’s brother Adan.

Fernandez Barrueco’s association with Cabello also put him next to Science and Technology Minister Jesse Chacon, whose brother Arne owns Baninvest, thanks to the generosity of Pedro Torres Ciliberto, who five years ago sold then-penniless Arne 49% of Baninvest on credit. Torres Ciliberto, who owns several banks and insurance companies, is also a longtime “testaferro” for Jose Vicente Rangel (aka Grima Wormtongue). Fernandez Barrueco also has done “business” with Pedro Luis Martin, the former director of Disip’s financial intelligence division (and a longtime associate of Luis Miquilena). It’s an incestuous revolution.

Did these powerful men turn against Fernandez Barrueco? If there was a falling out, money almost certainly was the cause. This has been a bad year for many of the regime’s leading gangsters, many of whom are believed to have suffered heavy losses in Antigua and Andorra.

The collapse of the Stanford Financial Group reportedly cost Venezuelan depositors over $1 billion, most of it funneled from Stanford Bank de Venezuela to Stanford Bank Antigua, and from there to wherever. But the Chavez regime a few months ago gave the government of Antigua $50 million in cash…for what? Perhaps to ensure the US Treasury and Justice Departments are denied access to all financial records involving Venezuelan clients of Stanford Bank Antigua.

In September, authorities in Andorra reportedly froze billions of dollars deposited in accounts owned by Venezuelans, including individuals reportedly very close (family) to President Chavez. Andorran and US officials reportedly determined that many of the frozen accounts were being used to move funds to terrorist groups. Some Venezuelans with accounts frozen in Andorra also were determined to have accounts in Miami. It’s unclear if there’s a connection with Rosemont.

The Miami Herald reported that US authorities also are pursuing investigations of Venezuelan-owned accounts in Panama and China.

Meanwhile, the complete absence of even a wee gesture of support from the regime “capos” Fernandez Barrueco did business with for years suggests strongly that his fate already has been decided by President Chavez.

Reports also have surfaced that the intervention of Fernandez Barrueco’s banks, which was ordered by Economy and Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque, reflects a bitter political confrontation within the regime between so-called “socialist chavistas” and the “capitalist chavistas.”

Some of the regime’s leading “capitalist chavistas” include Adan Chavez, Asdrubal Chavez at Pdvsa, Cabello and Jesse Chacon, Jose Vicente Rangel, Pedro Torres Ciliberto, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, Pedro Luis Martin, Arne Chacon, Gonzalo Tirado, and Jose Zambrano, among others.

Rodriguez Araque is said to be aligned with the “socialist chavistas,” who reportedly take political advice from Havana. If so, this would appear to place him in conflict with a group of gangsters that includes at least a pair of homicidal sociopathic personalities (Pedro Luis Martin and Ramon Rodriguez Chacin).

Rodriguez Araque says that the sources of Fernandez Barrueco’s money used in buying the four banks could not be determined.

But the bank intervention orders published in the Gaceta Oficial say that Fernandez Barrueco purchased rights totaling between $558 million (official rate) and $222 million (swap rate) from a brokerage apparently owned by Tirado, who for over a decade has been one of the top “bankers” of the Bolivarian Bolibourgeois and has done business with members of the First family including Adan Chavez.

Fernandez Barrueco also acquired between $200 million and $82 million of rights from Activos Corporativos AG, which we suspect may be owned by one of the regime’s longtime bankers.

The “rights” his banks acquired total $758 million (official rate) or $304 million (swap rate). What do they consist of, precisely? How much did Fernandez Barrueco actually pay in cash or securities for these rights? Where are they today? Did he trade them away to third parties, and if so, to whom and at what price? Did Inverfactoring trade its contracts with Fernandez Barrueco’s banks to other investors?

Tirado is a regime banker. He works with regime assets – government money and the personal wealth accumulated corruptly by the regime’s political and business Bolibourgeois elites. The rights which he apparently sold to Fernandez Barrueco’s banks likely were regime-owned assets, officially and/or privately.

But three of the four intervened banks (Banpro, Bolivar and Confederado) are insolvent shells. There may be some assets with value – real estate, office equipment and furniture – but financially they’re broke, almost wholly dependent on government deposits before/after the interventions.Will the interventors ultimately dissolve the banks and sell any marketable assets to other financial institutions? That would appear to be the right course of action. All of the banks associated with the regime are technically insolvent/gutted anyway.

Public prosecutors may use some information obtained from the data banks of the intervened banks to ensure that Fernandez Barrueco is lynched legally. But other corrupt dealings through these banks by senior regime figures – Fernandez Barrueco’s former business associates – will mostly get buried officially; though, of course, there probably will be information leaks given the politics underlying the intervention.

About Caracas Gringo

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4 Responses to Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco: The First Domino?

  1. Jose Manuel Torres says:

    If this fellow RFB was not arrested but actually drove himself to the DISIP he must have felt very protected..or might actually have felt he was safer under DISIP detection that running around exposed to a stray bullet or an Interpol or US justice arrest order. If the fiscales accuse him of “organized crime” my question is: who did he organize crimes with? My sense is that with at least a large faction of Hugo Chavez’s inner circle. I think we might see Pedro Torres Ciliberto and JVRangel running for their life…like in the mafia movies nothing has a single act..every act generates a fast fire reaction. The fun has started.


  2. ed says:

    No soy chavista ni de cerca. Chavez ha dicho y yo le creo, que se lleva por delante a quien caiga. En otras palabras, no creo que Chavez tenga miedo de que lo involucren a el en algo. Y por lo que respecta a la mala propaganda para su gobierno, no dudo de su inteligencia: El sabe que hay corrupcion, que la gente lo siente y piensa y con estas acciones mas bien voltearia la tortilla.


  3. Gringo says:

    If Fernandez Barrueco were to go to open trial, he could say things that would be very embarrassing to the regime. I predict that he will not go to trial for years, if at all. This will also give the regime time to convince Fernandez Barrueco that his silence will also enhance the health of his relatives.

    If Fernandez Barrueco had any ability to plan for unpleasant circumstances, he would have available embarrassing documents that would be released by a third party upon his arrest. More likely he assumed that he could never go down, so didn’t prepare for unpleasant contingencies.


    • I agree Gringo. There is a certain roguishness among these people that makes them think they are invincible, that it is not going to happen to themselves. There has been already several “downfalls” and none has managed to publish something damaging enough. Simply, they never took the precaution to protect themselves through some future blackmail.

      Or they know that if they keep quiet long enough they will find again their freedom and be allowed to enjoy their loot.


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