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Omar Farías Luces: A Socialism Magnate who secured his Funds in a Tax Haven

The so-called "insurance tsar" opened four offshore companies in a Caribbean island through the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Corporación OFL, which consists of about 20 companies in his name, makes him one of the entrepreneurs in the insurance sector that has grown the most during the chavista government.

08/05/2016 12:51:07

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Six years before entrepreneur Omar Jesús Farías Luces appeared involved in the Banco de Madrid scandal of March 2015, as one of the Venezuelans investigated for money laundering in the subsidiary of Banca Privada de Andorra (BPA), the irregular management of his company in Ecuador were already mentioned in the confidential documents of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm specialized in hiding fortunes of powerful people in tax havens, as confirmed by the global journalistic investigation Panama Papers.

Apart from the 20 companies that make up Corporación OFL (the entrepreneur's initials), with presence in Venezuela, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Panama, the so-called "insurance tsar" opened four offshore companies in British Anguilla, a Caribbean archipelago known for its white sand beaches and turquoise waters and as a destination for shell companies, a paradise to evade taxes and hide assets.

His main company, Seguros Constitución, covered the policies of main government agencies, like Petróleos de Venezuela, PDVSA, whose contracts included around 100 million dollars a year  of surcharges between insurance policies and national and international reinsurance policies, according to a report dated August 6, 2007 of El Nuevo Herald.

Farías Luces is the president and owner of 99.79% of the shares of Seguros Constitución, a company with active status to enter into contract with the Government, as indicated by the National Registry of Contractors (RNC). From 2007 to 2011, he provided services to public entities like Inces (National Institute of Qualification and Socialist Education), Ministry of Popular Economy, Che Guevara Mission Foundation (technical, ethical and political training program with socialist values), Onapre (National Budget Office), National Housing Institute, Cadafe (current Corpoelec, National Power Company), Metropolitan District of Caracas, and Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, among others.

Its origins are reconstructed based on inquiries within the sector. "El Negro Farías", as he is also known, started as an insurance agent of Seguros La Seguridad, at the time when the company belonged to the Boulton Group, a family of long commercial lineage in Venezuela. Then he made incursions into the area of ??brokerage companies by buying two companies: Vida y Patrimonio and Veneasesores, which were among the top 10 brokerage companies in the country. He included a reinsurance brokerage company, and in 2005, he acquired Sofitasa, which would become Seguros Constitución.

His rapid development in the insurance sector is attributed to his relationship with the deceased president Hugo Chávez. Thanks to his contacts with the senior government —of which he always showed off, according to acquaintances—, he became president of the board of directors of the Chamber of Insurers and president of the extinct National Insurance Council.

He introduced himself in 2006 as the legal representative of companies Inversiones FLD and Hospital Net, subsidiaries of company Servicios Integrales de Salud (SISA), registered just two days before the signing of a contract with the Government of Carabobo, ruled by the commander of the National Guard, Luis Felipe Acosta Carlez. It was created to manage Maternidad del Sur in Valencia.

In 2007, Farías Luces consolidated Corporación OFL, thus covering not only the insurance sector but also health, agricultural production, transport, shipping and even funeral services. Indeed, it is the one that channels the social responsibility projects of the business group. In August of that year, he began his international expansion by opening companies in Ecuador (after buying the insurer Memoser), followed by Panama (2008) and the Dominican Republic (2009), "all instinctively," he has declared to the press.