Spanish – Claudia Díaz, who was Hugo Chávez’s nurse and former treasurer of Venezuela, is said to have hidden millions of dollars in a secret vault in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
An AP report revealed that Díaz decided to move large amounts of money with the purchase of 250 gold ingots valued at 9.5 million USD. The money reportedly ended up in Switzerland.
En Espanol: https://t.co/Bg8WG1dizZ
— Joshua Goodman (@APjoshgoodman) August 3, 2020
AP explains that the purchase of gold bars with stolen funds by Hugo Chávez’s treasurer is at the center of an international criminal investigation into the shell companies and dubious Swiss bankers who helped turn Venezuela into one of the most corrupt countries.
“Details of the investigation into Díaz and five alleged associates come from a 14-page legal assistance request sent November 22, 2019, by a court in Liechtenstein and the response two weeks later by prosecutors in Geneva pledging cooperation,” reported AP.
From nurse to billionaire
Claudia Díaz, Chávez’s former nurse, also headed the National Treasury Office (ONT).
Díaz and her husband, Captain Adrián Velásquez Figueroa, allegedly received about 65 million USD from Raúl Gorrín’s personal account at HSBC Private Bank (Switzerland) and from the accounts of companies registered in Panama.
According to the investigations carried out so far, Díaz accumulated a gigantic fortune during his time at the Venezuelan National Treasury and the Development Fund (Fonden) between 2011 and 2013.
They are members of the so-called Venezuelan “bolibourgeoisie,” an elite that has amassed fortunes during Chávez’s Bolivarian revolution. They are currently under active investigation by U.S. prosecutors.
Díaz was virtually unknown until she and her husband appeared in 2016 in the release of secret financial documents known as the Panama Papers. She and her husband, Adrián Velásquez, currently live in Madrid and claim that the accusations against them are part of the persecution of Nicolás Maduro.
“She radically denies having had any gold ingots or any bank account in Liechtenstein,” Ismael Oliver, the couple’s lawyer, told AP.
CBH: the Swiss bank that held millions of dollars stolen by Chavismo
The Swiss bank CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvetique SA, based in Geneva, was the financial institution that allowed transfers of millions of dollars from Chavista officials.
Research indicates that the Swiss bank “has grown eightfold since 2006” because Venezuelan customers made millions doing business with the regime and used the financial institution to hide the money.
Economists suggest that the corrupt regimes of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro diverted public funds amounting to at least 385 billion USD from 2003 to 2015 alone.
According to El Confidencial, “if the annual plundering in recent years has been 20 billion dollars, that amount represents 20.7% of Venezuela’s gross domestic product.”
A key focus of the Liechtenstein investigation is Swiss banker Charles-Henry de Beaumont who would have allowed all the illicit transactions.
“U.S. prosecutors contend that Beaumont pocketed 22 million USD by charging a 0.75% fee for all incoming and outgoing wires routed through CBH to the shell companies he helped set up,” AP reported.
A bank or “a laundering machine”
The CBH has allegedly become a monetary haven for dozens of Venezuelans involved in million-dollar corruption cases. Venezuelan extortionist Alejandro Andrade pled guilty to accepting more than a billion dollars in bribes, including tens of millions of funds drawn from a CBH account to buy private planes and cover expenses related to his horses, according to a declaration of facts attached to his guilty plea.
Raúl Gorrín, one of Nicolás Maduro’s close allies, did the same when he allegedly hid 5.6 billion dollars in Switzerland: money that the Chavista government misappropriated through corruption.
Investigations indicate that Gorrín laundered about 5.6 billion USD from public funds in Venezuela between 2011 and 2013.
He and his partner Gustavo Perdomo were the latest beneficiaries of ten accounts at the EFG Bank in Zurich and CBH in Geneva, from where hundreds of million-dollar transfers were received and ordered.
Another businessman who reportedly mobilized millions of dollars from Chavismo through the Swiss bank is Danilo Díazgranados. Internal reports of the Swiss private banking entity CBH, dated from 2011 and 2013, indicate that he worked for several years in intermediation with the Venezuelan authorities and several banks.