miércoles, 19 de diciembre de 2007

Gobierno ruso demanda a Wilmer Ruperti por fraude por 17 millones de dólares


Wilmer Ruperti, un empresario independiente de barcos en Venezuela, ha sido demandado en el Tribunal del Distrito de Nueva York y acusado de cometer fraude masivo contra empresas filiales del estado ruso. La cantidad total reclamada, incluyendo los honorarios de los abogados, es de 17 millones de dólares.

Ruperti, quien controla las empresas domiciliadas en Panamá Pioneer Shipping Corporation y PMI Trading Inc., es acusado de violar su responsabilidades fiduciarias, obtener ganancias fuera del contrato y recibir pagos no identificados, en conexión con viajes de banqueros de las empresas rusas para la estatal venezolana PDVSA. Ruperti es acusado de cometer fraude en dichos viajes.

La casa matriz del demandante Novoship es la Compañía naviera Novorossiysk, de la cual el gobierno de Rusia posee una mayoría de acciones.

Los navíos de la demandantes fletados por Ruperti eran:

* M/T Marshal Chuykov

* M/T Kremlin de Moscú

* M/T Moscú Estrellas

EL fraude se abría cometido de la siguiente manera:

* Los barcos fueron primeramente fletados a una empresa de Ruperti y luego ésta se los alquiló PDVSA a una tarifa muchísimo más alta.

* Se prepararon documentos falsos para esconder este arreglo y para dar la impresión que los fletes fueron hechos directamente con PDVSA.

* Se pagaron sobornos para facilitar el arreglo de tal forma de mantener engañados a los demandantes.

Los demandantes también iniciaron acciones legales contra Ruperti en el Reino Unido (en el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, División de Banco de la Reina, el Tribunal de comercio en Londres) y luego introdujeron su demanda en Nueva York, para incluir bienes de Ruperti localizados en el Distrito Sur de esta ciudad.

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Venezuelan shipping magnate sued by Russian government for $ 17m for fraud

Wilmer Jose Ruperti Perdomo, a leading independent shipowner in Venezuela, has been sued in US District Court in New York, and charged with committing massive fraud against companies owned by the Russian state. The total amount claimed, including attorneys' fees, is US$17.1m. Ruperti, who controls his Panamanian-domiciled companies, Sea Pioneer Shipping Corporation, and PMI Trading Inc., is charged with a breach of his fiduciary duties, in earning secret profits and undisclosed covert payments, in connection with charters of Plaintiffs' oil tankers by PdVSA, Venezuela's government-controlled petrochemical agency. He is accused of committing charter party fraud.

The parent company of the plaintiff Novoship is Novorossiysk Shipping Company, of which the government of Russia is the majority owner.


The plainttiffs' vessels chartered through Ruperti were:

  • M/T Marshal Chuykov
  • M/T Moscow Kremlin
  • M/T Moscow Stars

The suit charges that the fraud was accomplished using charter party fraud:

  • The vessels were first chartered to a Ruperti-controlled entity, and then sub-chartered to PdVSA "at very much higher rates."

  • False documents were prepared to conceal this arrangement from the plaintiffs, and to give the impression that the charters were made directly with PdVSA.

  • Bribes were paid to facilitate the scheme, so that the plaintiffs would continue to be deceived.

The plaintiffs also have filed a parallel action in the United Kingdom, in the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division,Commercial Court, in London, and they filed the New York lawsuit to attach assets of the defendants located within the Southern District of New York.

An ex parte order of maritime attachment and garnishment was issued, but the court file does not contain any information regarding the results, though there is a reference later to the fact that assets have been attached or seized. The defendants' motion to dissolve the order was denied as moot when the First Amended verified Complaint was filed in the action. The case is not yet at issue.

Sr. Ruperti [UID 441484] is a well-known member of the so-called Bolivarian Elite, a group of Venezuelan businessmen who do business with their government, and who are extraordinarily close to President Chavez, and he is regarded as a close associate of numerous Venezuelan Politically Exposed Persons, or PEPs. He reportedly earned a masters in shipping and finance from Plymouth Polytechnic, and has been linked to several Venezuelans, including a number of bankers, currently under investigation by US law enforcement.

The progress of this major lawsuit will be closely watched by observers of the rise of the Bolivarian Elite, and World-Check will continue to report on all important developments as they occur.

http://www.world-check.com/articles/2007/12/19/venezuelan-shipping-magnate-sued-russian-governmen/