Further to sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) onGazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V.(link is external), a company formed by Boris Ivanov of GPB Global Resources B.V(link is external). and Francisco Convit and Orlando Alvarado of Derwick Oil & Gas that was used, in turn, to enter into a joint venture called Petrozamora between Gazprombank and Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), it is now evident that Alejandro Betancourt‘s initial €50 million “investment” into Spanish sunglasses retailer Hawkers(link is external) came some 10 months after OFAC sanctioned Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V.
Betancourt chanelled his investment in Hawkers through a fund called O’Hara, in which Orlando Alvarado acts as “portfolio manager and director”(link is external). When news about Betancourt’s involvement in Hawkers broke in early October 2016, I asked(link is external) whether Betancourt could prove legitimacy of funds invested. Betancourt and Alvarado, their lawyers, and people in charge of due diligence in that transaction, should have been asked whether information related to OFAC sanctions was ever given to Hawkers execs at time of investment. Betancourt and Alvarado have effectively been under a U.S. Treasury sanction, since early January 2016(link is external), due to their connection to Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V.
Switzerland sanctioned Gazprombank early February 2018, due to “atypical” transactions related to Derwick. OFAC sanctions had gone much further, and included not only Gazprombank’s Switzerland subsidiary, but a huge number of companies and individuals connected to it(link is external). Gazprombank’s CEO Andrey Akimov(link is external) was added to the sanctions in early April 2018.
It remains to be seen whether Hawkers’ board, where CEO Betancourt continues to launder millions through his O’Hara fund(link is external), or Spanish justice / law enforcement, will do something about it.