The UN, Venezuela, and the EU
are in the corruption game.
Possibly inspired by the shinning example of the UN and its Oil-For-Food shennanigans (where, as Mark Steyn puts it, “the sewer of the oil-for-food scandal and the attempts by Kofi Annan to castrate the investigation into it demonstrate yet again that there is no problem in the world today that can’t be made worse by letting the U.N. have a hand in solving it”), Chávez has been working on the Venezuelan version, including his own internal investigation>
Confidential documents reveal that high-ranking officials of the state conglomerate Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (Pdvsa) are authorizing the payment of million-dollar commisions for the sale of its products in the international market, through a wide network of intermidiaries with banking connections in Caracas, Aruba, Panamá, Miami, New York, Madeira and Switzerland.
30 executives & managers working in PDVSA Western Division were dismissed a couple of months ago and further investigations in National Assembly (AN) have thrown up more cases of irregularities in granting contracts.
. . .
[(PDVSA) president Rafael] Ramirez Ramirez has been fighting off charges that the PDVSA has been afraid to handle the investigations internally.
VCrisis blog expands on the subject:
Of course, all this information will not come on a silver platter. Restoring controls over PdVSA is a job requiring the sum of wills and an intense political task. It resembles an impossible task for political parties which only think of surviving the next elections. It will not suffice just to be in agreement with the distorted version of the executive, unless they aspire to someday inherit absolute control over PdVSA, also without rendering accounts of any kind.
The credibility of these parliamentarians is sparse, parliamentarians who dedicate themselves to dusting off supposed documents over the television screens, with a menacing, defiant and personalized attitude, without the presence of a truly political platform which would allow them to have direct access to the PdVSA “Black Box”. The most grievous matter of this is the silence and inertia of most of the political parties concerning the management of the corporation which is the backbone of the national economy. Ignoring what is happening in PdVSA is not just a behavior of complicity and approbation, but also one of the most perverted forms of corruption.
The EU has become another focus of corruption. The latest on a rather long string of corruption-related news pertains commission president José Manuel Barroso, who’s been spending quality time mellowing out on an old college friend’s yatch (the friend is old, the yatch is new):
News is breaking of what may be a major scandal involving EU commission president, José Manuel Durao Barroso and Greek shipping, banking, construction and petroleum magnate, Spiros Latsis, after it emerged today that Barroso and his wife enjoyed a lavish free holiday last summer on Latsis’s private yacht.
Can’t a guy have friends, you ask? Well, look at the friend’s motives:
However, it now emerges that Latsis, whose personal fortune is estimated at over $2.8 billion, has companies heavily involved in the construction and funding of the controversial Spata Airport complex, featured in the Booker column in March 2004, after millions in EU funding were unaccounted for.
The huge project, largely funded by EU grants and loans, opened four years ago at an alleged cost of €2.3 billion (£1.6 billion), which made it the third most expensive airport ever built. The project was undertaken by Hochtief, a German company which specialises in airport construction.
Although Hochtief only contributed €133 million to the project, it owns a 45 per cent share in the finished airport, and has a contract to run it through a subsidiary for 30 years, with the right to appoint its chief executive and five out of nine members of the board.
Of the claimed €2.3 billion cost, €250 million was contributed by EU taxpayers from the Cohesion Fund and €997 million was lent by the EU’s European Investment Bank, backed by a Greek government guarantee. Much of the rest came from Greek taxpayers.
Further details can be seen from the link provided but it also emerges that Latsis-owned companies have considerable financial interests in the Spata Airport venture. Not least, his bank, EFG Eurobank is a “strategic partner” with the German Hochtief company, the prime contractor for the airport.
There have been many requests to Prodi’s commission to investigate the dealings of Hochtief and the financial dealings relating to the airport constuction and management, but all of which have hit a stone wall of silence. Furthermore, the new Borroso commission has shown no inclination to follow up on what is clearly a major financial scandal, involving billions in EU funds.
Richard of EU Referendum says “Having friends is one thing – accepting lavish hospitality from them is quite another.” Especially when it leads to building airports.