Economy 22-06-2018

Panama papers attach loose case of Petroecuador case

Quito –

The company Murfield Investment Trading Corp. is a loose end in the investigations for the scheme of bribes in the Petroecuador case.

According to the Ecuadorian and Panamanian authorities this company paid $ 1.22 million to Álex Bravo ex-manager of Petroecuador and $ 606 thousand to Juan Andrés Baquerizo Escobar contractor of the oil company in various accounts in Panama. However it was unknown who it belongs to.

The second part of the Panama Papers gives clues about Murfield Investment Trading Corp. The documents state that Frank Chatburn Ripalda was the intermediary who asked the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca (MF) to register Murfield Investment in the British Virgin Islands.

The firm was represented by Mossack Fonseca & Co. (BVI) Ltd. and as the sole shareholder which owned the $ 50.000 capital Cobrefic consisted.

This is Cobranzas Eficientes SA Cobrefic an Ecuadorian company whose partners are since 2015 Juan Sebastián Espinoza Calderón and Frank Chatburn Ripalda, with an investment of $ 400 each.

Between 2010 and April 2015 most of the shares were Espinoza Calderón, who is accused by the Panama Public Prosecutor's Office of money laundering. In Ecuador it is not part of any judicial process, although there are already several sentenced for the Petroecuador case.

According to the Superintendency of Companies this company has not submitted its balance sheets since 2016. In its latest information Eladia Sánchez an affiliate of Social Security as a domestic employee of Espinoza Calderón is the president.

The address and emails of Cobrefic are the same as Galacredi SA another company of which Chatburn and Espinoza are partners. This newspaper tried to contact them to obtain a statement without results.

More than in the case of Petroecuador the Panama Papers show that the alerts at Mossack Fonseca were triggered by a decision of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which in mid-2016 sanctioned Biscayne Capital's partners in Florida where Frank Chatburn participated .

Because Biscayne appeared as the first broker for the registration of several companies, which were then handled by Chatburn, MF began a series of internal processes to cross-reference information with its subsidiary in Quito.

According to the filtering a list of the companies related to Chatburn and Sentinel Mandate & Escrow also of the British Virgin Islands, was drawn up. 32 companies were found in Panama and seven in the Virgin Islands.

In September 2016 MF began a process of renouncing all these representations.

Almost three weeks later, MF received a request from the Second Specialized Prosecutor's Office Against Organized Crime in Panama requesting information about Sentinel Mandate & Escrow and other companies related to the Petroecuador case.

The following month MF officially communicated its resignation to Sentinel Mandate & Escrow both to Roberto Cortés its representative and to the authorities of Islas Vírgenes.

On February 22/2017 MF received a registration order issued by the Financial Research Agency of the Virgin Islands. Its objective was to obtain all documents, folders and files on Sentinel Mandate & Escrow Ltd. as it is related to an investigation into alleged bribes illicit enrichment and money laundering.

The order states that if necessary, use force and knock down doors to comply with the request.

The next day, Daphne Durand Mayers of Mossack Fonseca & Co. (BVI) Ltd. presented the Agency with a notarized statement with a copy of all the documents that MF had on Sentinel Mandate & Escrow.

There it is stated that its directors are Juan Carlos Cortés and Roberto Cortés, and that its shareholders are Sentinel Investment Fund SPC and Saint Elmos Corporation (registered in Belize). The company also has an account with Credicorp Bank of Panama.

The company Sentinel Mandate & Escrow is one of the links that unites the bribes of Petroecuador and the Brazilian Odebrecht in Ecuador.

On the one hand it is related to the payments to Bravo and to the registration of companies for him and Arturo Escobar Domínguez by the contractor Ramiro Luque Flores of GalileoEnergy.

And on the other according to the award-winning collaborations of former Odebrecht officials José Santos and Luiz Mameri Sentinel received bribes totaling $ 4.6 million in accounts in the Cayman Islands.

In their collaborations, to which this Journal has had access, the exejecutivos include the transfers to Sentinel Mandate as payments to obtain the Daule Vinces Transfer Agreement with the Senagua.

These payments are also part of the Odebrecht process that is followed in Ecuador. Sentinel Mandate is investigated in the USA in the process against Chatburn.


Mossack Fonseca (MF)

The chaos

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed that MF did not know who the beneficiaries of the 70% of companies that the firm had created in Panama and 75% in the Virgin Islands were.

The documents

The second part of the Panama Papers contains 1.2 million files.


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