from considering them illegal for not being approved by the National Assembly -
controlled by the opposition since 2016 - or as a mechanism to evade the
financial sanctions imposed by Donald Trump’s administration since August 2017,
US authorities suspect that there are corrupt practices behind the increased
gold exports. In October 2018, there was a first warning from the
have seen Turkish companies replace many of the food companies that made
incursions into the corruption related to the Clap food boxes program," said
Marshall Billingslea, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. By that time,
Venezuela was sending shipments of gold to Turkey of about 21 tons, valued at
around 800 million dollars. In exchange, around 31 thousand tons of food and
another 120 of medicines, came from Turkey to Venezuela dispatched by a score of
suppliers, while Maduro and Recep Tayyip Erdogan strengthened the ties between
Cano, Minister of Mining Development, acknowledged to the Reuters agency in July
2018 that the gold shipments were the product of a gold refining "deal" between
Turkey and the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV). "It is not smuggling to Turkey,"
he insisted. It is one of the few statements offered by any Venezuelan official
about an exchange that seems out of control and of which the president of
Minerven is a key figure.
of his first decisions was also Turkey-related. On August 31, 2018, just one
month after taking office, the
creation of a "joint venture" between Minerven and the Turkish Marilyn’s Proje
Yatirim, an unknown company connected with the scheme hatched by Alex Saab and
Álvaro Pulido – his former bosses -, became official.
“We are a gold and metal products trading company worldwide (...) Our extensive
network of contacts allows us to have wide global coverage," says the website of
the Turkish company. It also affirms that they are capable of extracting and
processing gold and precious metals, although without detailing where they have
developed such works.