NEW YORK – The process for money laundering against Nilsen Arias, former International Trade Manager of Petroecuador, in the United States, opens the door to identify other oil intermediaries and former officials who have been part of the corruption schemes in the trade of crude oil and oil derivatives.
The Court of the Eastern District of New York has in its possession a list that includes companies, oil traders, former officials and intermediaries, whose names have not yet been revealed. In the documents of the legal process, it is explained that one of these intermediaries is an Ecuadorian citizen, with Spanish and US citizenship, who lives in the latter country and who acted as an agent for several energy trading companies.
Another is his relative, with Ecuadorian and Spanish nationality, and another is an Ecuadorian, “former high-ranking official of the Government of Ecuador.”
Another suspect is a citizen of Curaçao who owned and maintained several shell companies and bank accounts. These offshore companies were used to “receive, hide and distribute Vitol’s corrupt payments for the benefit of the defendant Nilsen Arias Sandoval and other government officials,” says the Curaçao justice officials.
In fact, the case against Arias stems from the trial against the brothers Antonio and Enrique Pere Ycaza, who were found guilty of money laundering and violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. They would have paid 22 million dollars to bribe Petroecuador officials. They, in turn, acted on the instructions of Raymond Kohut, former Gunvor employees, who wanted to obtain the oil contracts.
“I have spoken with my client and he has made the right decision to collaborate with the American justice system. He is free and will provide the information to the best of his knowledge,” said María Teresa Torres, the former official’s lawyer, on Thursday, October 27.
The Court that is handling the case against Arias also mentions state-owned companies that have their headquarters in Asia, Middle East and Latin America, who were part of the international corruption scheme.
Arias was the one who managed the oil presale contracts with China, whose conditions are harmful to the country. According to US justice, Arias “used his official position in Petroecuador to help companies obtain and maintain business with Petroecuador.” Another business for which he received bribes was with the oil trader Vitol, through the Mexican intermediary Javier Aguilar, convicted in the US.
Bron: Curacao Chronicle