Chavez’s Favorite Banker, Victor Vargas’ banks closed down
In an interview, Vargas defined himself as “a socialist in the real sense of the word.”
Panama closed down the AllBank Corp bank, presided over by Venezuelan banker Victor Vargas Irausquin, involved in obscure million-dollar conspiracies and linked to the French monarchy. Vargas Irausquin is the father-in-law of Luis Alfonso Borbon, who is also the great-grandson of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and cousin of King Philip VI of Spain. In fact, Borbon is one of those responsible for managing the financial entity in question.
AllBank Corp is a Panamanian financial branch with headquarters in Curacao, which is part of the BOD group. The entity was closed down on Monday, 10th September by the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP) to protect and safeguard the interests of customers.
Intervienen un banco en Panamá de Víctor Vargas y Alfonso de Borbón porque tenía un cuarto de su capital metido en el banco de Víctor Vargas y Alfonso de Borbón que colapsó en Curazao (el Banco del Orinoco).
Si eso no es indicio de centrífuga… https://t.co/sUYrBGmXnk
— Ewald Scharfenberg (@Ewalds6) September 9, 2019
The Panamanian financial authorities explained that the shareholder group did not meet the corrective action requirements demanded by SBP to “diversify the high degree of exposure of its liquid assets and custody services of its investments in securities in related parties.”
However, the bank is Panama is not the only one that had to close down. On 5th September, the same happened with Orinoco Bank in Curazao where a quarter of the liquid assets of AllBank Corp. were held
On 3rd July, Attorney Faride Raful, member of parliament in the Dominican Republic, asked for an investigation into the payments sent from the account of Lashan Corp. in Bancamerica to a company owned by politician and businessman Gonzalo Castillo.
6. Ese dinero entró al sistema financiero dominicano sin ningún tipo de control por las autoridades👀
— Faride Raful (@Farideraful) September 6, 2019
Lashan Corp. in Bancamerica is owned by the BOD Financial Group, chaired by Victor Vargas, who is also executing a million-dollar real estate project in the Dominican Republic. However, the country’s authorities have not yet carried out investigations into the alleged irregularities.
It’s not the first time the Chavista businessman has had a problem with banks. Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network in the United States, revealed that the businessman is one of 60,000 customers worldwide – and one of 1,138 Venezuelans – who have had accounts with HSBC, a bank under indictment in Argentina and investigation in France for “alleged complicity in designing a massive tax leak in 211 countries and territories.” Documents obtained by Univision show that between 2006 and 2007, the banker, his companies, and their partners deposited 132 million USD (more than 120 million euros) in 29 accounts of which they were the owners or beneficiaries.
Attorney Luis Fraga, the legal advisor to the BOD group, admitted to Univision the existence of the accounts but clarified that all of them were reported to the Venezuelan Central Bank (which is controlled by Chavismo) and that they are already closed. However, he does not know where the funds were transferred.
Further, the banker is also involved in other controversies. In April 2009, the media reported that 21 of his horses, “polo ponies” belonging to his Lechuza Caracas team, died of intoxication. The cause is unknown but, as TIME magazine reports, “the tragedy has brought the dark but powerful owner of Lechuza, Venezuelan billionaire banker and polo fan Victor Vargas, to the center of attention he usually avoids.”
“While many of Venezuela’s financial and commercial titans have been irritated under the leftist revolution Hugo Chavez began a decade ago, Vargas and his Western Bank of Discount (BOD) have prospered,” continues TIME.
Victor Vargas, Hugo Chavez’s banker
Banker Victor Vargas, who has a holiday home in Cadiz, Spain, is a polo player with almost 50 horses. He currently lives in the Dominican Republic, a tax haven that two years ago served as the location for an unsuccessful dialogue between Chavismo and the opposition.
According to Razon, the Venezuelan banker has a mansion in Palm Beach, United States called “Lechuza Caracas” just like his polo team. When Vargas bought it, he broke the price record in the area where the house is located.
In an interview for The Wall Street Journal, the banker pointed out: “People write stories about me saying I have a Ferrari, a plane, and a yacht, but it’s not true. I have three planes, two yachts, and six houses. I’ve been rich all my life.”
Although Vargas’ statement is true, the fact is that his wealth multiplied when Hugo Chavez took power in Venezuela. In an interview, he defined himself as “a socialist in the real sense of the term.”
According to the Spanish daily ABC, his friendship with the Chavez regime began when he opposed the general strike of workers and businessmen in 2002. Consequently, Chavismo awarded him most of the oil contracts (he controls 90 percent of the contractors in this industry), and he is now one of the wealthiest men in Venezuela.
The banker and the Chavista newspaper
In 2013 Vargas was listed as the financial operator of the 125 million USD purchase of the Cadena Capriles publishing group, which belonged to the Capriles family, editors of Ultimas Noticias, El Mundo, and Lider, among other publications.
The operation was carried out through frontmen because a Chavista law prevents banks from participating in the media. However, it would have been the Chavista hierarchy that asked him to take over Venezuela’s most influential newspapers: Últimas Noticias and El Mundo.
In 2014 the banker and his representatives left the Board of Directors of what is now called Ultimas Noticias Group. There has never been an official confirmation regarding the real buyers of Cadena Capriles. However, the newspapers began supporting the Chavista dictatorship and its economic policies since the purchase.