miércoles, 9 de abril de 2014

A letter from the lawyers of Davos International Bank: case Derwick Associates


I have received this letter (below) from a Legal firm from Antigua, called Lake and Kentish,  founded by Dame Bernice V. Lake.
This letter is in regards of  my post about Derwick Associates having an account in Davos International Bank. This post was based on information in my possession. Contrary to what this letter from the Antigua folks claims, I did do what should be done: call the company to verify the information. I did call on Friday last week and was told that the person I was calling, Mr. Andres Coles, was not in the office. I was calling Mr. Andres Coles because he is the person signing the disclaimer about Derwick NOT having an account with Davos.
 Mr. Coles called me on Monday and we had a very cordial chat in which he did not deny the existence of a Derwick account in Davos International Bank. He simply did not know, but said that, in any event, this bank and Davos financial Corporation were separate entities. This is what I published, after talking to Mr. Coles. Therefore I see no reason for this letter from Antigua. However, I have no problems in posting this letter in my blog, because I just want the truth about the link between PDVSA and Derwick Associates to come out. I like to think of myself as a  PDVSA's self-appointed trustee since I became a member of its first Board, back in 1976.
The letter from the Antigua legal firm, founded by Dame Bernice V. Lake, follows because I believe it is a step forward in the disclosures about this relationship between Derwick and PDVSA.  I like to do things right. At the end I will just make a final comment:

THIS IS THE LETTER:

LAKE & KENTISH
Founded by DAME BERNICE V. LAKE, Q.c. dec,d Barristers & Attorneys-at-Law
KENDRICKSON H. KENTISH, LL.B (U.W.I.) L.E.C.. Notary Public GEORGE C. LAKE, B.A. LLB (HON)(LOND) LE.C. Trade Mark Agents
Associates KATHLEEN A. BENNETT, LLB (Hons)(WOLV), BVDip (NLS), L.E.C. AMAYA M. ATHILL, LLB (Hons)(Lond), BPTC, L.E.C., LL.M
Temple Chambers
Telephone: (268) 462-1012/4869 36 Long Street FAX: (268) 462-2568 P.O. Box 512 E-mail: lakent@candw.ag St. John's
Antigua, W. I.
Reference
Our Your
AMA
Please reply to: 6th April 2014
ANTIGUA
Mr Gustavo Coronel Las Armas de Coronel Mclean Virginia United States of America
Dear Sir
Re Davos International Bank ltd
We represent Davos International Bank in Antigua. In that regard, we are being led by Mr Anthony Astaphan Sc. Our client's attention has been drawn to your blog commentary involving their business published on April 6th 2014 (today).
We hereby put you on notice that the information you have published is false. Derwick Associates is not a current client of the Bank The facts are that in 2010 the Davos Bank dismissed three former managing executives of the organization, namely Mr. Rodrigo Fernandez, Andres Sotillo and Jose Daniel Carrillo (currently the principals of Barnett Capital Bank in Dominica), for several wrongdoings including a series of suspected activities reported to the banking authorities for their full investigation, involving transactions with politically exposed persons.
The former executives (who were at that time in full control of the management and operations of the bank), evaded internal controls and acted without the knowledge of the shareholders of Davos International Bank. These manifestly unlawful activities has led to litigation in Antigua where we represent the bank.
We are in the process of filing an amended claim against Mr. Rodrigo Fernandez, Andres Sotillo and Jose Daniel Carrillo and others.
Our client's amended case is premised on documents prepared by Mr. Rodrigo Fernandez, Andres Sotillo and Jose Daniel Carrillo and credible forensic reports
Further, we and our client are cooperating fully with the Antiguan authorities. This we are doing in order to protect the integrity of Davos from the harm caused by Mr. Rodrigo Fernandez, Andres Sotillo and Jose Daniel Carrillo, and to make the aforesaid individuals accountfor their actions.
We are therefore instructed to put you on notice of a defamatory campaign orchestrated by Mr. Rodrigo Fernandez, Andres Sotillo and Jose Daniel Carrillo,the current principals of Barnett Capital Bank in Dominica. This campaign includes an extortive litigation initiated by them in Florida, all of this with the hope of burying the facts.
In all of the circumstances therefore, fairness and justice demand that you also publish this letter in your blog so that your readers can be made aware of the facts. Our client and its attorneys are willing to co-operate with you in bringing all of the facts to your readers. However and in the meantime, we are instructed to demand that you cease and desist from writing any unverified information against Davos or its shareholders without first seeking confirmation from the directors of Davos or us. If necessary we will refer you to the attorneys in the United States for further information.
We expect you to act accordingly and reserve our right to seek legal remedies,
Signature illegible

Dear Sirs:
I have published the letter, as you wished me to do, and I  take due  notice that your letter affirms that Derwick Associates does not have an account at the Bank at this moment. In this respect I have no reason not to believe you  and  gladly make a retraction. I should have said in my post that Derwick Associates had an account at the bank you represent, since accounts, of course, can be closed at any time. I apologize for this.
   
As I explained to Mr. Coles on the telephone, I am not primarily interested at this time in Davos Financial or in Mr. David Osio's business, which is well known by us Venezuelans. I am after the truth about Derwick Associates. If in the future I obtain information about the links between Derwick Associates and  the Davos Group  I simply would do the same I did this time: I wiould talk to Davos' management, hoping they can give me an explanation. When things are legitimate and transparent, explanations are easy to give.

Finally,  I do not like to be threatened and I resent legalese.  I rather talk with  managers who speak my language.
If at all possible, please do not contact me again,
Best regards,
Gustavo


11 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

Well, surprise surprise...
Why is Gustavo being contacted by some obscure law firm, out of all places, in Antigua, if it isn't by the fact that some individuals connected (past or present) with Davos (bank or finantial) resent being put in the limelight?
It is a rather petulant move "to put you on notice". Of course, this strategy is bound to backfire, it already has!
We concur with you Gustavo, this is excellent investigative reporting with the objective to expose wrongful deeds of individuals connected with Venezuelan state companies and Government..
To cease and desist? LOL!
This is clear indication that this blog is relevant.
In my opinion, to state not to be contacted again is putting the law firm on notice for harassment.
BTW...Antigua...Give us a break! the whole country's finantial system was involved in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the world! does Stanford ring a bell?
Keep on. Gustavo!

Jacob Sulzbach dijo...

 
Gustavo, please permit me to offer you my congratulations for some excellent work on your part to bring a small degree of transparency to the dealings of Davos International Bank as they relate to the financing of multi-million dollar bribes paid to Disodado Cabello and possibly others in the Venezuelan regime.  One can only wonder how much more is unknown beyond what is currently before the public at this early stage of revelation.

I found the following quote from their letter very interesting:

"... The former executives (who were at that time in full control of the management and operations of the bank), evaded internal controls and acted without the knowledge of the shareholders of Davos International Bank.  These manifestly unlawful activities has led to litigation in Antigua where we represent the bank...."

I find two things significant about this statement.  In the larger context, Davos International Bank is portraying themselves as the victims of corrupt banking practices by its own controlling authorities, and it is worth pointing out they acknowledge that control, rather than the perpetrators of these offenses, which would be the perspective of anyone outside the bank watching its executives trod roughshod over law and ethics in the manipulation of money.

But a second point worth discussing is Davos International Bank's admission that the aforementioned transgressions have led to litigation.  I did not see these attorneys qualify this statement to any degree in their letter to you Gustavo, and I believe it has been left deliberately vague in order to add an element of intimidation of you into the mix.

What litigation is being discussed here?  Does that litigation have the credibility of factual evidence offered by regulatory authorities who have provided documentation of offenses behind it?  Or is it possible that the litigation is merely a cover for the current directors of the bank who need protection from public scrutiny as their institution's involvement with the facilitation of the international financing of payoffs to Venezuelan officials in return for economic concessions becomes known?

In my opinion the letter you have published raises far more questions that it answers, which is not an unusual result for statements from attorneys who always seek to preserve their latitude for argument in a court of law, regardless of what the facts of a case may suggest.  And that is what is missing from the letter--facts.

The absence of facts tells us much more than does anything else about the intent of those who wrote you Gustavo.

Manténgase informado acerca de todo esto Gustavo!
 

Elena Garcia dijo...

Excelente, Gustavo! Continua con el buen trabajo investigativo. Pero no dejes que la verdad trate de ocultarse, por comentarios como los de "Anónimo"(Alek Boyd),quien ya sabemos que es 1 bloguero con 1agenda trazada. AB no quiere que la verdad salga a flote. El publica solamente lo que sus jefes le ordenan y autorizan.
Te ha llegado una pieza importantísima y crucial, de primera línea, en donde se refleja realmente quienes se prestaron y sobre todo, se beneficiaron de las estafas de Derwick. La carta que publicaste dice bien claro quienes fueron.
Continua investigando y no te dejes confundir por este bloguero mal intencionado, vergüenza para el Periodismo responsable y profesional. Saludos.

Gustavo Manrique dijo...

How interesting the responses from Anonimo and Jacob, it sounds that they are more interested to hide what is going on in Barnett Capital Bank, which is also a financial institution that grew from scratch and coincidentally was founded by those Directors, guilty of fraud, according to demand . I read the letter from lawyers and its seems they are explaining the situation happened in the Bank. Of course this open a window for more questions. I really didn't feel that letter was a threat. One of the questions for me will be, Why those people who started to write about Derwick and their relations with financial institutions, have not mentioned Barnett Capital, when is obvious that they are also involved in this big novel? Where is the fund's origin of that bank, that will be also interesting to know?

Jacob Sulzbach dijo...

 
For Gustavo Manrique. . .

"I really didn't feel that letter was a threat."

If that is true, then I would suggest you take an English course.

Read the following quote from the letter to Gustavo Coronel:

"However and in the meantime, we are instructed to demand that you cease and desist from writing any unverified information against Davos or its shareholders without first seeking confirmation from the directors of Davos or us."

They did not "ask" or "request" Gustavo's cooperation, they demanded it.  And any time a law firm contacts someone to tell them that they must communicate with the law firm to ask for clearance before publishing something, that is intimidation.

Now; as for Barnett Capital Bank, I did not see their names mentioned in the lawsuit Otto J. Reich filed last year.

Here is the original legal brief, you can search it yourself:

Reich vs Betancourt et al.

If you find that Barnett Capital was a party to the transactions Reich alleges were kickbacks, please let us know.

Finally; I will add that I am not prone to trust Barnett Capital given what I have learned of their affiliation with Rodrigo Fernandez, Andres Sotillo and Jose Daniel Carrillo.  But Barnett Capital's affiliation with these men evidently came after they were dismissed from Davos Financial Group.  Reich's lawsuit alleges wrongdoing while they were still with Davos Financial Group.

I will close with this statement, if there is any information involving payoffs, bribes, or kickbacks paid to Venezuelan officials via Barnett Capital, I would love to learn of them.  But as of this point I have seen nothing in that regard other than those payments Reich identified in his lawsuit which were managed through accounts with J.P. Morgan and Davos Financial Group.
 

Gustavo Manrique dijo...

I think everyone is missing the point. The guys in Barnett Capital Bank were the ones with the wrong doing and were fired and reported to the authorities for that. It looks like some people are trying to hide the truth. Don’t anybody think Otto Reich is working to hide it? For me, it seems that way. It is also curious why nobody is putting their eyes on Barnett Capital Bank’s origin and activities. They are for me, the ones connected to all of this thugs .

Anónimo dijo...

Alek: desde cuando Otto Reich es La Biblia? Ya es harto conocido que Sotillo ha estado por Washington contratando al Honorable O.R. para que lo proteja de sus vagabunderías y pagos de sobornos a oficiales del gobierno venezolano. Sera que el “ Honorable” O.R. ya no es tan “Honorable” ¿?. Alek: es demasiado evidente tu parte en esto. Deja de estar escondiendo los hechos , al final todo va a salir y vas a perder la poca credibilidad que te queda. Deberías enfocarte en la Verdad, como tanto pregonas.

Jacob Sulzbach dijo...

 
For Gustavo Manrique. . . .

I have not missed the point that Fernandez, Saltillo, and Carrillo are now with Barnett Capital Bank.  But the fact of the matter is that the issue surrounding the letter sent to Gustavo Coronel on behalf of Davos International Bank has absolutely nothing to with Barnett Capital Bank.  It relates to the lawsuit Otto J. Reich filed against those individuals and Davos Financial Group for actions taken while they were one.

Now; it could very well be that Barnett Capital's other lawsuit is a smokescreen to hide the offenses Fernandez, Saltillo, and Carrillo committed while they were with Davos Financial Group.  But I haven't seen that lawsuit's documentation and I note that you are not providing any of it either.

If you want Bsrnett Capital Bank put front and center in this matter, then put something up besides conjecture and supposition so that we can address it.

And as for suggesting that Otto J. Reich is working to "hide" the truth, that is absolutely ludicrous.  Reich is the one who originally brought these transactions to light in April, 2013 with his lawsuit.  No one was talking about Barnett Capital Bank at all then.  It is only later that they took action with a countersuit in Florida court.  And seeing as how Reich continues to press his suit to a jury trial, that certainly does not suggest he wants this all to go away, an outcome that would apparently suit those with Barnett Capital quite well, given that they now employ Fernandez, Saltillo, and Carrillo; all of whom will be put front and center in the public eye when they are called to testify.
 

Anónimo dijo...

http://www.occ.gov/static/ots/enforcement/93663.pdf

Anónimo dijo...

http://www.guia.com.ve/noti/13712/donde-estan-los-reales-de-pdvsa%E2%80%A6

Donde estan los reales de PDVSA

Gustavo Manrique dijo...

Sorry but it is too obvious that you have some interests behind Derwick's case and the smear campaign against Davos. I just want to know the truth about this and who are those who are really involved in this case.

Thanks for the links. If you really considered yourself as a journalist, I also invite you to review all the aspects related to the case, even Barnet Capital Bank and its Directors. As a know, you are really good at finding the truth, do your job and investigate. I know you will say, as you did it, that they are not mentioned in the lawsuit introduced by Reich, but I think that part of a real investigation is evaluate what really happened, even if these mean the people who hired you.