Thursday, August 23, 2007

Antonini isn't the only "testaferro" from Venezuela

Antonini isn't the only "testaferro" from Venezuela.

Financial Crime Consultant, for World-Check
17 August 2007
The $800,000 detected and seized by Argentinean customs authorities from Venezuelan Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson has generated a firestorm of public disgust, both in Argentina as well as in Venezuela. It has provided a rare public look at the darkest side of Latin American election politics, illegal cash payments designed to influence the outcome of presidential elections, made by the leaders of another nation, in this case, Venezuela. As this article is about trade-craft, the actual money laundering tactics seldom seen, but effectively employed, today we open a door to the truth, and detail the story of another Venezuelan "Testaferro" (bagman), and how he engineered "regime change" in another South American country. Antonini is, unfortunately, but one of many who move illegal cash to corrupt fair and free elections and topple elected governments.
Let's turn back the clock a couple of years. Ecuador was in turmoil; the legitimate government there under extreme pressure from several quarters. A renegade Ecuadorian colonel, interested in the installation of a radical leftist government, makes a plea to the Venezuelan leadership, the " Bolivarian Elite.": assist me in putting a government similar to that which you have into power. His wish was granted, and the dirty little game commences.The testaferro de jour, selected for the job, was a Venezuelan insider: Pastor Bismarck Arraez. According to witnesses, he immediately obtained $2m in government funds, and traveled to Ecuador via commercial aviation. Meanwhile, the colonel traveled to the same destination via another flight, and ensured that the money Bismarck was carrying was passed through customs without incident. Perhaps Ecuadorian customs officials can explain how this happened.The $2m was turned over to the colonel by Bismarck, and went to the financial support the of radical candidate, and to the leftist trade unions, whose members were soon out in the street, en masse, creating chaos and calling for the resignation of the government. The rest, as you know, is history. A radical leftist government, instantly allied with the foreign government that financed its ascension, came into power. Bismarck is known to have also traveled to Peru and to Mexico. What exactly was he doing in those countries? We cannot say, but perhaps the customs and immigration services of those nations might want to see how frequently he was a visitor, and the purpose of his trips. Who did he see whilst there? We do not yet know the identity of the individual who performed those services in Nicaragua, but our investigation is continuing.These illicit payments can serve many functions:

  • Fix elections, fund extensive bribery of public officials and bureaucrats.
  • Allow favoured candidates to purchase votes.
  • Pay for high-profile television and media advertising.
  • Fund expensive dinners and public functions of the candidate.
  • Bribe military officers who can order troops or police to interfere with the exercise of voters' rights.
The number of testaferros operating in Latin America today, plying their dirty trade, is unknown. The only way to shut them down is to arrest and convict them for money laundering. Will this happen to Antonini?

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