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Trump’s lawyer and the Venezuelan president:

How Giuliani & Rep. Pete Sessions got involved in back-channel talks with Maduro


#TeamPutinTrumpChina’s love/hate obsession with Venezuela. Hint: oil, 💰 & so much more.
Real estate mogul Trump sold condos to regime-connected Venezuelans

At least half a dozen Venezuelans linked to government officials purchased Trump condominiums in New York City and South Florida prior to Trump becoming president.

On 2/8/17 Gentry Beach & Wadie Habboush met w/ NSC officials. Habboush presented senior NSC officials w/ a detailed plan to improve political relations w/ VZ & lift US sanctions in exchange for opening up the SA country to potential business opportunities.
The next day, 2/9/17 Habboush returned to the White House and presented the plan directly to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, the two sources said.
Beach and Habboush set up their meetings with NSC officials through deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland.

Beach's attorney confirmed that Beach and McFarland were acquainted
Habboush told NSC officials he had met directly with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez prior to his visit, multiple sources confirmed.
B/c Beach & Habboush obtained access to senior NSC officials & that Beach (and pal of DonJr) was a big-$ fundraiser for the campaign raised alarm among lawyers in the WHCO over possible conflicts of interest & ethics violations.

Emrullah Turanlı, published an Instagram post of himself and Habboush speaking with Trump—owns and runs Taşyapı, a large Turkish construction company. Taşyapı happens to have initially helped develop the Trump Towers project in Istanbul

Turanlı is a close ally of President Erdoğan who was once detained by Turkish police for his alleged participation in a vast corruption scheme involving high-ranking members of Erdoğan’s political party. #Halkbank

I digressed, but the reader can see how all the corrupt circles connect.

Back to more early VZ events involving TeamTrump.
DonJr & HFM Gentry Beach involved in business deals since the mid-2000s & just formed, Future Venture LLC.
LY Beach met with top NSC officials to push a plan that would curb US sanctions in Venezuela & open up business for U.S. companies re oil..
Flynn and Bannon met with Texas billionaire, Gentry Beach and international investor, Wadie Habboush. Beach has been identified as a close personal friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and that’s where ethics concerns arise.

A U.S. subsidiary of a Venezuelan state-owned oil company that has stirred national security concerns among U.S. senators contributed $500,000 to President Donald Trump’s inaugural fund, federal disclosures show.

📌The oil company’s half-million donation to Donald Trump’s Inaugural Committee wasn’t illegal. But it certainly wasn’t moral.

📌And the cash may have come from the Kremlin, at least indirectly.
Lewandowski’s firm Avenue Strategies quietly inked deal with Venezuela-owned company
Contract to lobby for Citgo comes amid rising tensions.
Avenue Strategies was brought on by Citgo to help provide access to the Trump administration amid calls for the U.S. to seize the company’s assets as a way to expand the impact of sanctions against Venezuela.

Lewandowski, said he is leaving his newly-formed lobbying firm amid revelations it agreed to lobby for VZ’s Citgo.

A large chunk of Citgo could soon be owned by Russia's Rosneft —a deal that has led to calls for the WH to intervene.
VZ would lose ownership of Citgo by OCT 27, 2019, with the shares of the Texas-based refinery going to Russian state-run oil company Rosneft and to other financial backers of the U.S.-sanctioned Nicolás Maduro regime unless the U.S. Treasury intervenes,
The transfer of ownership would be triggered by the expected default on a $913 million Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) bond issue payment coming due on Oct. 27, 2019
The bondholders would have the right to seize 50.1 percent of Citgo shares Maduro placed as collateral for the bond issue thanks to a special license to circumvent the U.S. sanctions that allowed US bondholders to have recourse in case there was a default.
It’s the Only Way to Get Paid’: A Struggle for Citgo, Venezuela’s U.S. Oil Company
10/24/19: The Trump adm moved Thursday to protect the Venezuelan-owned refining company Citgo from creditors by closing a narrow loophole on sanctions intended to topple the Venezuelan government.

So folks, there are a couple things going on here. TeamTrump are playing both sides (Maduro & Guaidó). Guaidó appears to be the preference, which suggests he is not any less “corrupt” than Maduro, but is perhaps more “amenable.”🤔

The prize is control of Citgo.
However, some U.S. officials said they worried that the deal Sessions was floating was intended to legitimize the upcoming election by opening up the vote to at least some opposition candidates, which could help Maduro remain in power, rather than ease him from office,
Maduro won reelection in May with nearly 68 percent of the vote. The international community largely rejected the vote because of allegations of fraud and the banning of key opposition parties, and civil unrest ensued

In August, U.S. prosecutors charged Gorrín, Sessions’s host for the congressman’s Venezuela visit, with participating in a $1 billion money-laundering and bribery scheme.

Prosecutors have said Gorrín is a fugitive.

In August, Giuliani met in New York at the Grand Havana Room cigar bar, blocks from Trump Tower in Manhattan with Parnas and two American business executives with investments in Venezuela to discuss the effort,
Over whiskey and cigars, Giuliani agreed to try to see whether there was a way to negotiate with Maduro and perhaps reach a diplomatic solution.

About a month later, Maduro was on the phone with Sessions, Giuliani listening in.

This caused confusion, said a former senior administration official.

“We didn’t know why Rudy was involved at the time,” the person said.

📌Some Venezuelan business leaders who had amassed vast wealth under Maduro but had been severely constrained by U.S. sanctions switched sides and began to assist Guaidó.

#HedgingBets #PlayingBothSides
Among them was Gorrín, who played a key role in a failed effort to persuade the nation’s Supreme Court to recognize Guaidó over Maduro, part of an effort to curry favor with the Americans,

This is why Giuliani is involved to protect Trump personal interests:

This summer, another wealthy Venezuelan energy executive, Alejandro Betancourt López, hired Giuliani to serve as his lawyer & help argue that he should not be charged in a $1.2B money-laundering case in FL.
8 men — including Betancourt’s cousin — have already been charged in the case which alleges that top officials of the VZ’s state-owned oil company, biz leaders & bankers conspired to steal money from Citgo and then launder it through Miami real estate purchases & other schemes.
The news that Giuliani was representing the wealthy energy executive before the administration while also serving as the president’s personal attorney disturbed veteran U.S. officials who have experience in Venezuela.

📌Giuliani later met with Justice Department officials and urged them not to charge Betancourt, The Post reported.

“You have to ask, ‘Why is he doing this?’ ” said one former senior administration official.
This is why:

📌The stolen money was laundered through Trump properties

At least half a dozen Venezuelans linked to government officials purchased Trump condominiums in New York City and South Florida prior to Trump becoming president.

One of the most prominent Venezuelan purchasers of Trump condos is Moris Beracha, a businessman who had ties to the Venezuelan government, serving as a former adviser to one of Chavez’s top deputies, Finance Minister Rafael Isea.
Beracha was described in a 2012 lawsuit as “one of the wealthiest people in VZ with significant access to VZ gov’t officials.”

The suit accused Beracha of receiving money as part of a $500M Ponzi scheme, & also of bribing an official with VZ’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA.
Roberto Rincon, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to bribing officials at VZ's state-owned oil company, also acquired a Trump condo in FL. Via a Delaware shell company, paid $1.7M in August 2011 for a condo in Trump Tower III.
And Ronald Sanchez, the brother of VZ’s national superintendent of securities under Chavez, bought a Trump condo in FL. A horse racing stable he owned, called Rontos Racing Stable, paid $625k in July 2011 for a condo in Trump Tower III in Sunny Isles Beach
Sanchez was accused in an FBI complaint of being involved in an extortion scheme in which one official was charged.
Another purchaser is Juan Montes, a former corporate manager of finance & investments at PDVSA, which the US TD called a “vehicle of corruption” for Maduro when the Trump adm sanctioned the company this year.

Notably, Montes is the PDVSA official Beracha was accused of bribing.
The 2012 lawsuit also said Montes lived in Sunny Isles Beach.

A Marshall Islands shell company connected to a Montes business associate purchased a Trump Palace in Sunny Isles Beach in Florida for $1.95 million in April 2008. Cash deal.

Ruben Halfen was another purchaser of Trump-branded properties. Halfen founded Inelectra, an engineering & construction firm that was awarded major contracts by both PDVSA & the state-owned power Co, another firm accused of corruption & mismanagement.

A shell company that lists Halfen’s name on corporate records paid $5.1 million — likely in cash because the deed stated it lacked a mortgage — for a condo at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York in July 2008,

Bottom line:

“Our research continues to reveal a disturbing pattern of ties between the president’s businesses and deeply corrupt foreign governments and figures from around the world,” said Jeb Fain

🔑The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama, for instance, identified VZ as one of the club's “main feeding countries,”

A marketing firm launched a campaign to find Venezuelan buyers for the company, and it bought ads in VZ magazines.

@threadreaderapp unroll please and thank you.

#Venezuela #PanamaPapers
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