Investigative Journalism Report Reveals ‘Corporate Labyrinth’ of Venezuelan Defense Minister

Investigative Journalism Report Reveals ‘Corporate Labyrinth’ of Venezuelan Defense Minister

By Voice of America (VOA)/ Edited by Diálogo Staff
May 07, 2020

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According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the family of Venezuelan Defense Minister General Vladimir Padrino López was involved in a business network that included 24 companies based in the United States and Venezuela.

“His family has built up a web of private companies and real estate in Venezuela and the U.S. worth millions of dollars,” the consortium of investigative centers says in the report.

According to the OCCRP, the business network of the Venezuelan minister’s family includes 24 companies in the United States and Venezuela and at least 14 U.S. properties. These properties are currently valued at about $4.5 million.

The investigation says that one of the companies is likely Trámites Consulares, Inc., located in Sunrise, Florida, which provides services such as assistance to obtain a Venezuelan passport, translations, and applications for asylum in the United States.

The firm’s director is believed to be Padrino’s cousin, Ludmila Padrino Valderrama.

The report also mentions Prinmaplast, C.A., a paint company whose director is the general’s wife, Yarazedt Betancourt. The company’s plant in Venezuela is believed to have closed, but would have been able years ago to buy U.S. dollars at preferential rates through the currency exchange control that governed the South American nation for its imports.

In March 2020, the United States pressed charges against Padrino and other high-ranking officials, including Nicolás Maduro, for their alleged connections to narcotrafficking.

“It remains to be seen whether the March 26 indictment against Padrino will bring more scrutiny to his family members and their businesses and properties in the U.S.,” says the report.