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Diego Salazar: The Excesses of a Petroleos de Venezuela Looter: $610,000 Ritz and $806,630 Watches | International

In May 2013, former Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramírez delivers a speech at PDVSA headquarters in Caracas.Juan Barretto/AFP/Getty Images

There are more than 806,000 Swiss Patek Philippe watches from the Italian company Brioni, 610,000 in the Ritz Hotel and 330,000 in fashion. The network looted more than 2,000 million from state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).2.5 million spent on hotels, jewelry and designer clothes during the event In robbery The main energy company in his country between 2007 and 2012, according to documents accessed by EL PAÍS.

Salazar, a cousin of Rafael Ramírez, former Chavista energy minister, former head of PDVSA and former UN ambassador, enjoyed a joyous trip to Paris with his family in August 2008. , dinners and gifts.

Along with his wife, Rosicela Diaz Gil, Salazar paid A five-year period of robbery and forgery $865,312 in jewelry from an oil company. With this money, he bought nine Patek Philippe watches worth $806,630. And according to his credit card, he was fined $58,682 by American jeweler Harry Winston.

Dream Hotels piled on this lavish and over-the-top second game. The businessman and his wife spent $719,061 on these accommodations between 2007 and 2012.

Their favorite chain was the Ritz, which paid $610,000 over five years. In March 2009, the couple left a total of $210,138 at the company’s institutions, whose addresses did not specify bank charges.

Just a five-minute walk from the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, is the Hotel Plaza Athénée. Salazar and his wife spent $87,711 in August 2007 to stay in this palatial building with views of the Eiffel Tower. The couple paid $21,350 in May 2012 to sleep at Le Meurice, a Parisian hotel that combines Louis XVI furniture with a two-Michelin-starred restaurant.

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The Robbery years The couple also chose to renew their wardrobes in January from PDVSA, a giant that produces 800,000 barrels a day. The couple purchased $385,905 worth of clothing during the period. Leading the list of expensive brands were Italian fashion house Brioni (330,000), Louis Vuitton (25,982), Christian Dior (15,162) and Ralph Lauren (14,791).

Salazar and his wife paid for the luxury train through a Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA) account in the name of the Panamanian instrumental company (defunct) Global Traders Line SA, a payment worth 49 million.

Andoran account was also used to buy property. In June 2006, the couple transferred 3.3 million to a Swiss HSBC deposit to acquire the land of a businessman who appeared on LinkedIn as an intermediary in the sale of real estate in Venezuela, the United States and Canada.

An analysis of bank movements also reveals how in August 2008, they transferred a total of $500,000 to a French company linked to the Moroccan auctioneer to cover the costs of their trip to Paris that summer.

The mystery of card payments

Additionally, a document provided to Andorra’s Financial Intelligence Unit (Uifand) shows that Salazar’s account, linked to Panamanian company Worldwide Traders Line SA, recorded charges on 14.1 million “unidentifiable” credit cards. , the general body of the Iberian country that pursues money laundering.

Wedding Landed as a customer at BPA In January 2007. Salazar, 54, was an insurance tycoon who moved into the oil brokerage business. Know Your Customer (Know Your Customer, in English) As reflected in the document that applicants must justify to open an account, he expressed his interest in the bank with a balance of 25 million dollars as a result of his business activity. Your source of funding.

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Salazar added that he has ties to seven companies, including Inversiones TPSK CA and Inmobiliaria Torre Edicampo CA.

The businessman’s wife, linked to four accounts at PPA, told the Andoran bank that she was a “housewife”. And, like Salazar, he announced his intention to pay the financial institution an annual target balance of seven million dollars. A report by consulting firm PwC, included in the investigation, says the wife of the oil company’s looting boss did not provide the bank with documents proving her multimillionaire assets.

Salazar was arrested in 2017 for corruption and money laundering along with 65 senior officials in the energy sector linked to the PDVSA heist, according to Venezuela’s public prosecutor’s office.

The arrest comes two years after Andorran authorities intervened in BPA’s alleged embezzlement of funds from criminal groups. During the presidency of Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) the institution was welcomed by former vice-ministers of the Venezuelan government and among politicians. Hierarchies allegedly charged foreign companies, particularly Chinese, illegal commissions of up to 15% to intermediaries in order to obtain awards from PDVSA.

In order not to arouse suspicion, according to investigators, the robbers hid their income under the umbrella of non-existent consulting jobs.

A court in Andorra Indicted in 2018 for money laundering and collecting commissions from Salazar And along with his wife 26 leaders and leaders linked to Chavismo, among them former Venezuelan energy vice ministers Nervis Villalobos and Javier Alvarado.

The magistrate also sued Salazar’s business manager, Luis Mariano Rodríguez Cabello, and his agent, Jose Luis Zabala.

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