Morgan Stanley stole millions from Venezuelan businessman accused of money laundering
Morgan Stanley, Interactive Brokers and other financial advisory firms are under investigation by US authorities for handling around $ 100 million owned by Venezuelan businessman Luis Mariano Rodriguez Cabello, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Rodriguez, the cousin of former Venezuelan oil minister and United Nations ambassador Rafael Ramírez, has been accused of laundering $ 2 billion in the United States on behalf of Ramírez and Rodriguez is currently under investigation by American and international agencies.
Ramírez has been a leading figure in the Venezuelan energy sector since at least 2002, when he was appointed head of the Energy Ministry by former President Hugo Chávez. He faces allegations of taking money from state accounts through fraudulent insurance contracts with the country’s national oil company, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Rodriguez’s accounts reportedly displayed “red flags for potential money laundering activity,” the Newspaper noted. According to WSJ report, the so-called “red flags” included “prior scrutiny by regulators and law enforcement officials and the fact that the source of the funds was Venezuela, which has been filed for more than a year. decade by the US government as a high-risk jurisdiction for money laundering. “
According to the Wall Street newspaper, the FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other federal agencies are currently investigating why Morgan Stanley and the other companies would agree to take over Rodriguez’s accounts when there were possible indications that ‘they could be linked to money laundering.
Under federal banking laws, financial institutions are prohibited from authorizing the use of their services in illegal business. To maintain compliance, they are expected to control their customers and individual relationships, the source of funds and financial transactions.
Morgan Stanley, Interactive Brokers and the other companies have not been charged with wrongdoing, WSJ reports. Interactive Brokers told the newspaper it was “committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations,” but could not comment on specific accounts or clients. Morgan Stanley did not respond to WSJ or News week when asked for a comment.
Besides, the wall street journal reported contacting the SEC and FBI, as well as Rodriguez and Ramírez, but did not get a response. The Newspaper According to the report, in previous statements regarding his allegations of wrongdoing, Ramírez called the accusations “unfounded and politically motivated.”
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who served alongside Ramírez under Chavez and now faces a contested presidency, called Ramírez corrupt, the the Wall Street newspaper noted.
According to the report in the Newspaper“Former US officials” said the accusations, true or not, were used as a ploy to deflect attention from the drug trafficking and terrorist conspiracy charges that Maduro now faces.