ACU Chairman Al Cardenas & FTI Consulting strike gold with Hugo Chavez’s Cronies

29-year old, billionaire (?), Pedro Trebbau-Lopez. 

London – ACU Chairman Al Cardenas’s web of relationships with Hugo Chavez’s cronies goes back for years and extends to defence of individuals involved in fraud, theft, and money laundering. The day before yesterday, prior to posting
an article further exposing the connections between Cardenas and some of Venezuela’s most corrupt  Boligarchs, I
emailed Cardenas and his PR person at the ACU (Laura Rigas) requesting comments. They both read my emails but chose not to
reply. As a blogger trying to report objectively, I felt I had to
give them the chance to defend their professional relationship with
the men behind Derwick Associates. Next I sent a request for comment
to Joseph DeMaria, attorney at Tew Cardenas law firm, representing
Pedro Trebbau-Lopez and Alejandro Betancourt-Lopez in the
$300-million lawsuit against Banco Venezolano de Credito, and
freemarket think tank CEDICE-Libertad’s Oscar Garcia Mendoza and
Rafael Alfonzo.

DeMaria did reply, saying:

Mr Boyd. I will
refer to the public record.

I, and not Mr.
Cardenas,am the attorney who was hired as litigation counsel for Mr.
Betancourt and Mr. Trebbau. My firm has never represented Derwick in
this litigation. When I was hired earlier this year, I was hired to
represent these two individuals. And that is who I have appeared for
in this case.

Further despite
your constant reference to Mr. Cardenas in connection with this
litigation, he does not provide any litigation services in this
matter. The litigation is handled exclusively by me and my litigation

I hope this clears
up any confusion you may have had about how this litigation is being

So, I stand corrected. Mr. Cardenas’s
firm isn’t representing Derwick Associates, it is instead
representing the two listed owners of Derwick Associates:
recently-minted billionaires (?) Messrs. Trebbau-Lopez and
Betancourt-Lopez. Cardenas’s firm represents the owners of Derwick
Associates, not Derwick Associates itself.

The Tew
Cardenas law firm has 23 attorneys in total. It isn’t some
500-attorney firm. It is a boutique. Cardenas is founder and
principal of Tew Cardenas. Mr. DeMaria’s claim, that Mr. Cardenas has
nothing to do with either Derwick Associates and/or its principals,
as far as litigation is strictly concerned, may be true. But how many
of the firm’s clients does he actually ever represent? He is the
rainmaker and chief salesman. Who got the contract, Mr. DeMaria? My
sources in Venezuela state that Cardenas himself made the sale, that
Cardenas was fully aware of the provenance of Derwick’s fortune, and he
saw an opportunity to make a killing in fees, and possibly get a
lobbying contract. Can Cardenas actually say he has never met anyone
from Derwick Associates before? In fact, the Derwick boys’ choice
of venue in Florida (an odd choice if you consider the anti-Chavez
sentiment of any Florida jury) had a lot to do with the phrase
purportedly used by Cardenas during the sale: “I don’t lose cases
in my own back yard.”

Al Cardenas (right) with R. Fernandez
Barrueco (left).

But let’s discuss a different white
collar criminal from Chavez’s circle: Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco,
another Boligarch billionaire who went from parking
cars as a valet to being a major Chavez contractor and money
launderer. He is another Venezuelan previously represented by Tew
Cardenas in a tussle
with the Drug Enforcement Agency. DeMaria was Fernandez
Barrueco’s counsel then. So, again, is this another person unknown to
Cardenas? Can anyone buy DeMaria’s argument that Cardenas -founder
and principal of Tew Cardenas- is completely unaware and removed
from what his junior partners are doing in representation of his law
firm? Mr. DeMaria’s argument flies in the face of photo ops where the
ACU Chairman appears all chummy with this criminal (see picture). But it does not end there. In the same soiree when Cardenas
was posing for pictures with Fernandez Barrueco, FTI Consulting’s top
dogs -Neal Hochberg, Matias Mora Simoes, Jack Dunn IV, Frank Holder
and Erik Miller- were also present, which would suggest that both
Cardenas and FTI Consulting have been pitching, and getting,
business contracts from Venezuela’s worst for a few years now.
And guess who the Derwick boys hired to do their “image
consulting”? You guessed it: FTI

But why stop there? Tew Cardenas is
currently representing none other than David Osio of Davos
International Bank. This is a household name when discussing the
Chavez government corruption and fraud. And once more, it turns out
Mr. DeMaria has been retained as the legal counsel for David Osio, in
a lawsuit
initiated by former partners Rodrigo Fernandez and Andres Sotillo.
Is DeMaria going to argue now that Cardenas has nothing to do with this
either? Venezuelan financial bloggers claimed in the past that Osio was FTI Consulting’s “representative” in Caracas, so a bit of
context is in order, for those unaware of «banker» David Osio.

David Osio.

David Osio is one of a handful
financial operators that have defrauded the Venezuelan people in the
hundreds of millions. He is involved in the ponzi scheme set up by
Francisco Illarramendi, in which approximately $550
million worth of pension money belonging to Venezuela’s oil workers
disappeared (with the help of David Osio’s banks). In that case
in particular, Moris
Beracha, another former
client of FTI Consulting, paid bribes to a PDVSA official using
Osio’s financial network. But that is not Osío first financial faux
pas. Back in the day, his time at Banco Latino International during
the Venezuelan banking crisis in the 1990s was questioned, as well as
his actions at Global Bank and Dollar Savings Bank, for which the
of Thrift Supervision ruled his activities as illegal. In
association with others he forged documents to steal “considerable
amounts” of money -belonging to Enrique Delfino- whose heirs,
expecting funds to be part of their estate, realised
that funds trusted to Osio had vanished and took him to court. Osio helped Gonzalo
Tirado get chavista clients for Allen
Stanford’s ponzi scheme. Osio has also been involved in countless illegal transactions to help PDVSA officials,
chavista ministers and members of the Bolibourgeoisie –Derwick
Associates purportedly among them– siphon and launder billions. For said
operations, Osio would have made millions in commissions and is
believed  to have used
Goldman Sachs, Bank Bauer, JP Morgan, UBS, CF Monaco, HSBC, Deutsche
Bank and other financial institutions as part of his laundering
operation. Osio also appears to have run into trouble in Switzerland,
in relation to operations of D Société Financière Suisse S.A.,
another vehicle he used to move PDVSA’s millions. Osio used to operate in Miami, with Mauro Nannini, but due to the lawsuit Tew
Cardenas is handling he decided to close shop and move north, to New
York City, where Andres
Coles is looking after his interests. Osio’s financial network
spans Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, the U.S.,
Switzerland, Antigua & Barbuda, even New Zealand. Fernandez and Sotillo, his
former partners, claim that Osio
even used his own mother to allegedly perpetrate a multi-million
dollar fraud.

Andres Coles, Osio’s man in NY

There is enough here for a book about
corruption in Venezuela, one of the legacies of Hugo Chavez we will
have to deal with for years to come. I post this as yet another
example of the kind of Venezuelan clients Tew Cardenas is taking on,
regularly. I risk sounding like a broken record here, but the United
States’ authorities would do well investigating the activities of
David Osio, its relations to FTI Consulting and Tew Cardenas, and how
Venezuelan crooks like Fernandez Barrueco, Beracha, Trebbau-Lopez,
Betancourt-Lopez and Osio are abusing the system -with FTI’s and
Cardenas’s help, and using stream of commerce and financial markets to
launder their ill gotten fortunes. Despite what Mr. DeMaria claims,
Al Cardenas seems to be up to his neck in all this. It is his
prerogative to do so, of course, but the moral position of his
ACU-GOP leader public persona is untenable.

Tomado de ACU Chairman Al Cardenas & FTI Consulting strike gold with Hugo Chavez’s Cronies