In 2014, a news item in the newspapers attributed to the withdrawal of Petróleos de Venezuela from injecting 700 million in a hypothetical capital increase of Rioforte of 1.000 million, which would “save” the holding of Grupo Espírito Santo (GES) from the default, the cause of the precipitation insolvency of holding that brought together the group's non-financial activity.
What did the newspapers say at the time? On May 7, 2014, the Executive Committee of BES became aware of the attribution to ESAF of a mandate for asset management of PDVSA - Petróleos de Venezuela of 3,5 billion euros, which expressly stated the investment intention of up to 700 million euros in a capital increase at Rioforte. At that meeting, BES's Executive Committee was informed that there was an expectation that the capital increase could occur by the end of June.
However, in mid-July, PDVSA announces that, given the deterioration of the GES situation, there were no conditions for carrying out the aforementioned capital increase operation in Rioforte.
All of this, we now know from the prosecution order of the prosecutors of the Public Prosecutor's Office, was an alleged high-caliber staging by Ricardo Salgado with the complicity of João Alexandre Silva, former responsible for BES / Madeira, who managed to forge almost perfectly an investment by the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, in Banco Espírito Santo at the height of the GES crisis.
The prosecution order of the “Universo BES” process reports that Ricardo Salgado in 2014 invented a public tender for the management of a PDVSA International Investment Fund, which would have been won by ESAF (Espírito Santo Ativos Financeiros), with award on 5 May 2014, with a volume of assets under management of 3,5 billion euros and forged contracts, signatures and accounting for several GES companies.
The history of the recounting creation of a contract that never existed, with the sole objective of getting the deposits of Venezuelan entities at BES to finance GES companies and try to prevent the group from collapsing has the features of a Hollywood spy film.
The accusation prepared by a group of attorneys led by José Ranito discovered that it was Ricardo Salgado with the complicity of João Alexandre Silva who was responsible for falsely, and as instructed by the banker, presenting it as a requirement of PDVSA for the award of a contract, the authorization of BES to deactivate bank balances that guaranteed loans granted by the bank to Venezuelan companies. This was the touchstone of all this staging, getting your hands on PDVSA bank balances.
Incredibly, in the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry at the end of 2014, Ricardo Salgado told deputies a story with details, which today are known to be false.
In July 2014, the management of BES at the time, led by Vítor Bento, discovered comfort letters, signed by Ricardo Salgado and José Manuel Espírito Santo, which guaranteed the reimbursement by BES of the investment made by Venezuelan entities (Petróleos de Venezuela) in debt of Espírito Santo Group companies (GES). Banco de Portugal was informed of the existence of these letters on the same day (night) on which the bank's executive committee met them, on July 15, 2014.
What did Ricardo Salgado say about a contest that is now known to be forged?
Regarding the comfort letters issued in favor of a bank and a fund in Venezuela, Ricardo Salgado explained to the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Management of BES and GES (which ran from October 9, 2014 to May 8, 2015) that the PDVSA - Petróleos de Venezuela, the ultimate beneficiary of comfort letters, was a relevant customer for BES.
“In addition to this, ESAF, a BES entity, had competed for the management of the PDVSA International Investment Fund and won that tender, awarded on 5 May, with a volume of assets under management of 3,5 billion euros. euros, in the context of an international tender in which prestigious banks participated globally, such as UBS, HSBC, Mitsubishi and BSI. The allocation of the management of this Fund was accompanied by the decision to invest 20% in equity in Rioforte, in the amount of up to 700 million euros ”, refers the quote from the former president of BES that appears in the report of the commission of inquiry.
All of this was focused, according to the prosecution.
Ricardo Salgado also said that “in order to protect BES and GES, two comfort letters were signed, which, however, would require a precedent fact, this being the replacement of ESI's debt, held by FONDEM (Inter-American Assistance Fund) for Emergency Situations) and BANDES (Economic and Social Development Bank), for debt to be issued by Rioforte, which, unfortunately, was not possible due to the collapse of Grupo Espírito Santo and Banco Espírito Santo. Of all these circumstances, I informed Dr. Vítor Bento by letter 2035 delivered on 30 July, ”he reported.
The accusation of the group of public prosecutors, led by José Ranito, comes to tell a different story.
The story of the false representative of Petróleos de Venezuela who authorized the use of bank balances of Venezuelans who were at BES to finance GES
It all started in January 2014 when the false accounts of Espírito Santo International (ESI) that hid 1,3 billion debt and negative equity were known and at a time when the heads of the Venezuelan public company began to show signs that intend to divest in the group. With the aggravation of, in April 2014, going to expire a set of obligations in which PDVSA's money had been invested.
In the first quarter of 2014, and following the “restructuring” of GES, ESFG's announcements of January 23, 2014, announced that it had undergone changes in its reference shareholder structure. Then there is another of 25 March 2014, reporting the postponement of the approval of its accounts to 2013 and the need to set up a provision in the probable amount of 700 million euros. This generated discontent among the representatives of the PDVSA group. In a statement of 23 January 2014, they learned that, following the “restructuring” of GES, their investments in ESI debt are no longer directly guaranteed by its participation in ESFG's share capital, which was now in the consolidation perimeter of Rioforte .
Ricardo Salgado and João Alexandre Silva were then faced with pressure from the decision makers of Venezuelan public companies that did not intend to be politically exposed by decisions they had taken for the management of those companies' treasury, which they then began to perceive as running the risk of losses for the possibility of non-compliance by ESI.
“In March 2014, when the maximum amount of RFI's debt [Rioforte] was already exhausted” Ricardo Salgado was confronted with the resistance of some of the directors of RFI to authorize an increase in the company's debt beyond the limits set by the Board of Administration of February 25, 2014 and, thus, “preventing the migration of those investments from Venezuelan entities to RFI's debt to be accommodated”, refers the accusation.
Resistance that endured, “even after April 11, 2014, the date on which the RFI Board of Directors approved a first increase in the company's consolidated debt ceiling”.
Rioforte's CEO, João Bento, warned Manuel Fernando Espírito Santo about the company's excessive debt. Given the impossibility of determining the placement of additional debt by Rioforte to make advances to ESI to repay the debt placed at its maturity, Ricardo Salgado was faced with the impending default of that company and the consequent collapse of GES.
Ricardo Salgado, so that it was possible to demobilize the deposit balances of PDVSA bank accounts, captive in the scope of the documentary credit business, in order to use them to underwrite the GES debt, he wanted a change in the position of some of Rioforte's managers approving the increase in the maximum debt limit, necessary to accommodate the migration of PDVSA's investments in ESI Bonds to Rioforte Bonds.
Then a highly elaborate staging begins. Ricardo Salgado “created a scheme by which the existence of a tender / invitation launched by PDVSA for the management of an asset fund and an investment portfolio was fictionalized”. For the execution of which he called the efforts of João Alexandre Silva, Isabel Almeida and Amílcar Morais Pires. The BES banker intended to make Banco Espírito Santo's services believe the truth of that invitation / contest, which, under the terms defined by him, would necessarily end with the award of the management of said Fund to ESAF in a business that would include an investment in the company's capital stock. Rioforte.
“To that end, under instructions from Ricardo Salgado, João Alexandre Silva recruited Venezuelan citizen José Trinidad Márquez, who, assuming the identity of Domingos Galan Macias, Spanish citizen, professional porter, holder of Spanish identity document No. 70030366X, residing in Madrid, and against whom the latter lodged a complaint with the Spanish authorities imputing to him the removal of his identification document, he intervened in the whole process by presenting himself as a representative of PDVSA, which was false ”, reads in the order of prosecution.
Under the aegis and control of Salgado, and with the participation of the head of the Madeira branch (João Alexandre Silva), and in spite of the governing bodies of the PDVSA companies, a process of producing forged documents began to make the services believe. the existence of the aforementioned tender launched by Petróleos de Venezuela.
Thus, dated March 27, 2014, “by a forged document, prepared as if issued by the services of PDVSA, BES was invited to present its best offer for the management of an asset fund and investment portfolio of PDVSA with a value of not less than 3.550 million euros, for a period of 5 years or more ”, reports the MP.
“Document in which, despite the receipt stamp on April 3, 2014 being affixed to the BES Board of Directors and the confirmation of receipt with the handwritten signatures of Ricardo Salgado and João Alexandre Silva, it was only held by the first, who was apprehended in the scope of the search carried out in these records ”, the prosecutors discovered.
Subsequently, and as instructed by Salgado and João Alexandre Silva, on March 28 of that year, José Trinidad Márquez, “identifying himself as Domingos Galan, and using an e-mail account with the address email@example.com, sent to the second [the manager of BES Madeira] an email with instructions for the preparation of the meeting that should take place on the following Wednesday, April 4, 2, namely basic information about what was expected of the invited competitors in the interest of PDVSA . Email that João Alexandre Silva immediately forwarded to Isabel Almeida (DFME), Elsa Ramalho from (DGR) and Pedro Costa (from ESAF).
The manager of Espírito Santo Ativos Financeiros “surprised at its lack of content, forwarded this information to ESAF, to the team led by Susana Vicente, referring that“ although the information is little and strange “, what is at issue is the“ award of management US $ 2,5 billion, part of the PDVSA pension fund portfolio ”.
On April 2, 2014, “the meeting took place at BES headquarters where José Trinidad Márquez was present, identifying himself as Domingo Galan Macias and PDVSA representative and there being introduced to Amílcar Morais Pires, who was there only for that purpose. , and also João Alexandre Silva; his deputy, Célia Tairum, director of the international banking department; Elsa Ramalho, coordinating director of the investor relations office; Isabel Almeida; Pedro Sotero Gomes, from SFE da Madeira; Pedro Costa (ESAF), and Ana Rita Barosa, as coordinating director of BES's strategic reorganization office ”, report the prosecutors who took six years in this investigation. At that meeting, José Trinidad Márquez was the holder of a document with the contractual bases for preparing the contract proposal, forged, as determined by Ricardo Salgado, says the order.
Ana Rita Barosa, who, under the so-called “Projeto Douro”, which she coordinated, had not yet managed to convince any banking institution to grant financing to Rioforte, as indicated by the then president of BES, presented a brochure describing the RFI to José Trinidad Márquez, who believed himself to be called Domingo Macias and be a representative of PDVSA. "Document that did not arouse any interest from Trinidad Márquez, who asked nothing about Rioforte's equity situation", says the dispatch. Pudera was facing a false representative of PDVSA and a false potential investor in Rioforte.
Between the 2nd and the 11th of April 2014, and due to an indication of urgency, the team led by Pedro Costa then drew up an asset management proposal to be presented by ESAF under that contest / invitation fictionalized by Ricardo Salgado. ESAF's proposal, which required the management of an amount equivalent to 30% of the total of its assets, was structured on April 7 and 8, 2014, with the contributions of João Alexandre Silva, Isabel Almeida and Amílcar Morais. Saucer.
“Under the guidance of João Alexandre Silva and Isabel Almeida, both acting in compliance with the instructions of Ricardo Salgado, and with the knowledge of Amílcar Pires, manager Pedro Costa included in that proposal the possibility for ESAF, under the mandate assigned by PDVSA, to be able to allocate part of the assets, in the proportion of 20% of the total value of the assets under management, to the taking of a position in the capital stock of Rioforte, which would be equivalent to an investment in its capital, of approximately 700 million euros.
Gustavo Ferreira, from BES 'Legal Affairs Department (DAJ), was then instructed by João Gomes da Silva, his superior, to, on the same day, April 10, 2014, meet with Pedro Costa of ESAF and João Alexandre Silva in order to prepare, until the following day, a draft of an asset portfolio management contract that fulfills the legal requirements of Luxembourg. Having referred to João Alexandre Silva the difficulty in satisfying the request in that period, "Gustavo Ferreira was immediately informed that Ricardo Salgado was waiting for that task to be completed within the specified period".
On April 11, 2014, the draft of the contract proposal between BES Group and PDVSA was completed, which, Salgado, “as chairman of the ESAF Board of Directors, handed over to José Trinidad Marquez, who identified as Domingos Galan and PDVSA representative, which he knew was false, ”says the prosecutor's order.
In addition to the forged contest, an extraordinary PDVSA meeting was also forged, with minutes included, which gave full power to the false representative
Subsequently, “at the behest of Ricardo Salgado, documents were forged regarding an extraordinary meeting of PDVSA, dated April 30, 2014, and which stated that, following an invitation to a number of international banking entities to manage PDVSA's financial positions outside Venezuela, that proposal from BES, prepared in 9 (nine) days, had won ”. And it was not for lack of rival bids, since in those minutes BES was also found to have matured in comparison to other bids presented by banking entities such as UBS (Zurich), BSI (Geneva) and Mitsubishi (UFJ) Tokio (Geneva ). "Which was false since these entities did not receive any invitation from PDVSA in 2014 for that purpose".
In order to continue to control the process initiated by him and not discover its falsehood, Ricardo Salgado also determined that in those minutes of PDVSA's extraordinary meeting it should be stated that “PDVSA officials were mandated to negotiate directly with the“ Grupo Espiritu Santo "(Quote from the document) the contracting of services for the management of these assets"; and that “the“ ingeniero ”Domingos Galan Macias, Spanish, domiciled in Caracas, head of the engineering division of the technical department of PDVSA, would be responsible for the evaluation of the proposals presented by the financial institutions invited to present contracting proposals”. The minutes of a meeting that never existed say that “Rafael Ramirez, president of the board of directors of PDVSA and Minister of Petroleum of Venezuela, had nominated Domingo Galan as outsider ad honorem of PDVSA, unpaid, mandated as representative of the company and as project manager in the contract to be established and that this appointment had been approved by the legal department of PDVSA ”. The same document says that “Domingo Galan would be responsible for opening accounts, preparing documents and contracts with BES, and was mandated to advise BES on everything that was necessary, in addition to being responsible for delivering the official letter of award to BES ”.
BES would pay a set of funds as an adjudication commission for accounts titled by Domingo Galan that would send such money to PDVSA and the process was confidential, according to the minutes of the alleged “extraordinary meeting of PDVSA”.
Subsequently, upon receiving the happy news of the expiration of BES's proposal, on May 6, 2014, João Alexandre Silva, Paulo Nacif Jorge and Célia Tairum prepared a communication that the first would make to the Executive Committee of BES the following day and which would support the decision whereby the withdrawal of money that PDVSA had on deposit to guarantee loans granted by BES in the scope of documentary credit was authorized (trade finance).
On May 7, 2014, José Trinidad Marques, from Madrid accompanied by João Alexandre Silva, participated in the meeting of the BES Executive Committee attended by Ricardo Salgado, António Souto, Jorge Martins, Rui Silveira, Joaquim Goes, Amílcar Morais Pires, João Freixa and Stanislas Ribes.
João Alexandre Silva and Ana Rita Barosa then presented aspects related to the alleged asset management contract that would be signed between BES and PDVSA.
Ana Rita Barosa was only entrusted with the task of explaining the reasons for the expiration of BES's proposal and the business advantages for the bank. “What did it do, informing those present that, following a rigorous selection process and in competition with entities of international reputation (eg Deutsche Bank, Mitsubishi, Societé Generale, UBS and BSI), PDVSA informed BES today that this was the entity chosen to manage a portfolio of captives of that company, for a period of 6 years and an initial amount of 3.550 million euros ”. Portfolio management would involve “an investment in a“ core ”portfolio (at least 80% of the value under management) and, in a long-term perspective, in a portfolio with a strategic positioning (maximum of 20%), with the possibility of investing in a stake in the capital of Rioforte ”.
The signed Private Wealth Management Agreement foresaw, “in addition to the initial management amount of 3.550 million euros, a performance fee of 20% on profitability above 10% and an acceptance fee of 3 million (of which 2,862 million euros to be repaid in 6 months after signing the contract) ”.
João Alexandre Silva was responsible, falsely, and as instructed by Ricardo Salgado, to present as a requirement of PDVSA for the award of that contract BES's authorization to deactivate bank balances that guaranteed loans granted by the bank. This was the touchstone of all this staging, getting your hands on PDVSA bank balances.
The executive directors of BES, “not taking care to analyze the contract, which was not shown to them, approved the proposals made and decided to delegate powers to“ Ricardo Salgado to represent the Bank in the signing of the portfolio management contract to be signed with PDVSA, under the terms previously described ””. The contract did not contain any reference to any commission of acceptance of 3 million, of which 2,862 million euros to be repaid in 6 months after the contract was signed.
The contract was not subject to prior validation by DAJ (BES legal area). or compliance to assess the admissibility of paying subscription fees, or for the procedures for certifying the powers of those who presented themselves on behalf of PDVSA.
On May 7, 2014, Ricardo Salgado signed the asset management contract of 3.550 million euros, on behalf of BES. On behalf of PDVSA, José Trinidad Márquez put the name Domingos Galan Macias. A document that the Public Prosecutor's Office discovered was forged at the behest of the then president of BES and was not prepared by the services of PDVSA, "whose statutory bodies never deliberated on such a reality and in which there is no department associated with Domingos Macias".
After 17 pm on May 7, 2014, BES management services received a document dated May 5, also forged by instructions from Ricardo Salgado, with authorship attributed to Rafael Ramirez, and for which he, on behalf of PDVSA, communicated to BES a “direct and irrevocable” award for the management of PDVSA's assets in the total amount of 3.550 million euros, “but there having been stated that BES was approved as the only banking entity designated for long-term management of assets of PDVSA investments; PDVSA approved the investment of 20% of that amount in a strategic position in Rioforte ”, says the accusation that adds that“ this award guaranteed that PDVSA would not invite or negotiate with any other entity to manage its assets ”.
In order not to discover the falsity of this scheme that it created, Rioforte made sure that the document stated that the award commission should be paid directly to Domingo Galan under the contractual terms, “under penalty of the award decision being decayed, and that, for guarantee confidentiality and discretion, all communications on the subject should be made through that one ”.
“On the following day, the term deposits of the PDVSA group that guaranteed documentary credit operations at BES were deactivated, the following amounts were transferred: $ 159.512.000 to PDVSA's account at SFE [Madeira]; 30.823.894 euros to PDVSA Services account at BES Luxembourg; and $ 73.712.250 for the account of PDVSA Services at BES Luxembourg, ”reads the Accusation.
However, on May 8, 2014, and despite Ricardo Salgado, with the false promise of a capital increase coming to fruition, having managed on 11 April 2014 the RFI Board of Directors to approve the increase in the limit maximum of the company's consolidated indebtedness in XNUMX billion euros, the maximum limit of the company's EMTN (Medium Term Notes) program was already exhausted.
In exchange for emails on May 13-15, 2014 between João Cardão da Rioforte (RFI) José Pedro Castanheira of BPES, and José Castella, the possibility of the RFI debt issues necessary to accommodate the migration of the Bonds was also discussed. ESI taken by the PDVSA group were made through the issuance of twelve Notes, an idea abandoned for fear of possible reaction by the supervisory entities. Reason why, on May 8, 2014, following instructions from Ricardo Salgado, João Olavo Silva, acting as a discretionary manager of the banking interests of the PDVSA group at SFE, on behalf of PDVSA and PDVSA Services, but without representatives of these companies, took the following ESI Bonds, with maturity on May 19, 2014, the date on which they would be rolled over to Rioforte Bonds: one worth 233,22 million dollars; the other for $ 30,82 million.
These values thus obtained by ESI for the issuance of those Notes were then used to cancel the negative balance of ESFIL's bank account generated on May 7, following the transfer to the escrow account of 47,7 million euros to reimburse ESI commercial paper due in that period. day, already anticipating, in the description of the operation, that the value had resulted "from the subscription of ESI bonds by Petróleos de Venezuela, through SFE da Madeira", despite the fact that it only materialized the following day.
The taking of those ESI Obligations, made possible by the release of the balances of PDVSA's accounts, was made without prior instructions from the financial management of PDVSA, with the respective subscription orders being signed only on 14 and 20 May 2014.
However, on May 19, 2014, and as intended by Salgado, after achieving that, under the false promise of the capital increase to be carried out within the scope of the award to ESAF of the management of the PDVSA Fund, the Rioforte Board of Directors on May 15, 2014 to authorize an increase in the ceiling of consolidated indebtedness by 1.000 million euros, setting it at 4,5 billion euros and convincing PDVSA representatives to take debt from Rioforte, those ESI Obligations were rolled over into the following Bonds issued by RFI.
Under the false promise of a capital increase, Rioforte's strong debt issuance began.
The first two Notes described above were subsequently “rolled over” in two new RFI Notes, to which were added two other Notes, also issued by Rioforte and taken by the PDVSA group by decision of its legal representatives, convinced of the soundness of the company's equity issuer.
Ricardo Salgado, having succeeded in realizing his intentions with the set-up scheme - getting BES to authorize the demobilization of the PDVSA group account balances and the RFI Board of Directors, on April 11, 2014 and May 15, 2015, the to approve the increase in the company's consolidated indebtedness ceiling to 3,5 billion euros and 4,5 billion euros, respectively, and to migrate the PDVSA group's investments to RFI Bonds -, endeavored to pay the promised rewards José Trinidad Marquez refers to the Accusation.
False representative of PDVSA received 4,5 million for the paper
Venezuelan citizen José Trinidad Márquez, who, assumed the identity of Domingos Galan Macias, between April and July 2014, got 4,5 million euros in his hands.
To this end, he had already made it appear in documents forged at his command, as if documents prepared by the services of PDVSA were treated, namely in the document referring to the “Puntos Mandatários Aprobados por la Junta Directive para el desarrollo del proyecto”, that “ as a direct awarding commission, BES should transfer to the IBAN CH9608465140462882001 from BSI Lugano, account held by Domingo Galan, the amount of 2.000.000 euros ”; and “as a commission due for the approval of strategic investments in Rioforte, BES should transfer the amount of 2900495103712595359668 euros to Banco Santander ES 862.000, account titled by Domingo Galan”; finally "the administrative expenses already received, in the amount of 6.684 euros and receivable, in the amount of 40.020 euros would be delivered to the project manager Domingo Galan".
Between April 3, 2014 and July 3, 2014, by order of Ricardo Salgado, José Trinidad Márquez, who usurped the identity of Domingo Galan Macias, was then paid the total amount of 4.500.704 euros [4,5 million] , delivered in different ways. A portion in cash (paid at the Marquês de Pombal branch and at headquarters); a party through an international transfer to Spain; another through an international transfer to Switzerland; and one called “BES Transfer”.
Transfers in the amount of 27.020 euros and 2.862.000 euros (2,86 million) were made on 9 May 2014. The first to Banco Santander account in Spain; the second for account at BSI Lugano, Switzerland.
In addition to the amounts owed to “Domingos Galan Macias” contained in the contract between BES and PDVSA, forged, by order of Ricardo Salgado, the amount of 1.562.000 was also transferred to José Trinidad Márquez, under the name of Domingos Galan Macias. 1,5 euros (24 million) through Boddickron Overseas, incorporated on February 2014, 26 and registered on February 2014, 20 in the public register of Panama, in whose name, on June 2014, XNUMX, an account was opened bank at SFE Madeira, with Domingos Galan as its economic beneficiary.
On June 27, 2014, a “Finder's Agreement” was signed between BES (represented by Ricardo Salgado and José Manuel Espírito Santo) and “Domingos Galan”, under which the second would identify the Potential customers and would charge a commission of 0,22% in cases where BES, following an indication by the “Promoter”, would contract a banking service.
Ricardo Salgado and José Manuel Espírito Santo did not submit the document for analysis by DAJ (legal services) or BES's compliance.
On July 3, 2014, an account at BES Luxembourg, held by Boddickron, was provisioned in the amount of 1.563.000 euros with the reference “transfer finder's agreement”, as a subscription award commission, refundable after 6 months. The payment of this money was ordered by Ricardo Salgado.
On July 25, 2014, with Ricardo Salgado without functions at BES, the credit of 1.563.000 euros was reversed, leaving the account in reference with a balance of zero euros.
As a result of Rioforte's insolvency, the Notes taken by the companies of the PDVSA group were not repaid, generating a total loss of 330.029.851 euros (330 million euros).
Between mid 2008 and July 2014, several public companies in Venezuela invested EUR 6,4 billion in GES and BES.
The rocky history of Ricardo Salgado's involvement with Venezuela
It all started when in 2008, following the visit to Venezuela of a mixed commission of Portuguese government and businessmen, BES started the commercial relationship with Venezuelan public companies. This relationship was directly assumed by Ricardo Salgado and elements of the local political nomenclature, including the President of the country and the Minister of Petroleum, Rafael Ramirez, also president of Petróleos de Venezuela (or PDVSA).
“Despite the fact that the Venezuelan group of state-owned companies, PDVSA, signed a contract with Galp and CGD was the bank for inter-party relations, Ricardo Salgado managed to channel treasury applications from Venezuelan public banks, subsidiary companies of PDVSA to BES , from electricity-related companies and from local development funds that operated with oil revenues ”, reads the dispatch of 4.117 pages.
It is not new that the branch in the free zone (which had one of the defendants as its general director - João Alexandre Silva -) served for BES to attract customers from South America and Africa. PDVSA and other Venezuelan companies had almost 7.000 billion dollars in BES, deposits were invested in GES.
The order reports that “in 2011, BES managed to centralize the main accounts of the PDVSA group at SFE Madeira. As determined by Ricardo Salgado, in a process controlled by the South America corporate business monitoring unit, assumed by the general director of SFE da Madeira, João Alexandre Silva, his deputy, Paulo Jorge, and their team, and with the Isabel Almeida's contribution under the control of Amílcar Morais Pires, both the commercial area of SFE and DFME directed the liquidity of deposit accounts of Venezuelan public companies towards investments in debt of GES entities, such as ESFIL and ESI ”.
In addition to this deposit relationship established with Venezuelan companies, BES's international business area also sold documentary credit (or trade finance) services. These credit operations, granted by BES to the PDVSA Group, guaranteed international supplies of goods and services to the Venezuelan oil company in which its counterparties demanded irrevocable payment guarantees to mitigate the risk of Venezuela. BES thus issued irrevocable letters of credit (stand by letters of credit, or LC), in advance of payments under certain conditions prior to supply, which, in reality, functioned as financing to the PDVSA Group for prepayment of orders made to operators worldwide.
In the current activity of granting credit, BES required the provision of guarantees, collateral or the mobilization of money in secured accounts.
“As in the other business of the South American corporate entities, to monitor these specific clients in the documentary credit activity, Ricardo Salgado placed João Alexandre Silva, his assistant, Paulo Jorge, and their team, in accumulation of functions, in area of international banking and major international business at BES, in Lisbon.
Between 2008 and 2014, BES granted credit lines to PDVSA, “to its subsidiary that functioned as a central for contracting goods and services, Bariven; Electricidad de Caracas (and Corpoelec, a state-owned company into which all Venezuelan regional electric companies have merged, including Electricidad de Caracas); Banco Del Tesoro; the local development bank, BANDES; and Banco EX, with emphasis on the approval of some lines of support. Namely, letters of credit for import to PDVSA / Bariven on January 9, 2012, in the amount of US $ 750 million; letters of credit to the hydrocarbon line to PDVSA, on January 10, 2013, in the amount of US $ 1.150 million; the $ 834 million operation, contracted on September 24, 2013, and on April 21, 2014, to support the development of a refinery, which involved the structures Wison and OAK Finance, and BES Luxembourg; and the support line for suppliers from PDVSA and Bariven, contracted on January 10, 2014, in the amount of 800 million dollars ”, says the dispatch.
The team of attorneys says that Ricardo Salgado positioned this business line of BES to obtain financing income for GES entities. “As of December 22, 2011, at least, PDVSA started the cycle of investments in ESI bonds with an investment in bonds, in the amount of US $ 500 million, and in the context referred to in the Counterfeiting tab. ESI Financial Statements for the year 2011 ”. Between December 22, 2011 and January 30, 2012, PDVSA invested $ 1.500 billion in ESI debt instruments.
“Ricardo Salgado identified here a base of support for the non-financial GES treasury, even if intermittent, and associated with BES's business with Venezuelan public entities”, says the dispatch.
“Salgado made the services of SFE and the Department of International Banking, working in error, make proposals to the Credit Council so that the trade finance could be collateralized in GES debt and, thus, ESI financed itself with the recourse to this activity ”, the prosecutors of the Public Prosecutor also revealed.