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Accomplices to Bribes to Peruvian President Toledo Left Traces in Venezuela

Two entrepreneurs from Peru, Yosef Maiman and Sabih Saylan, participated as intermediaries in the irregular payments of Odebrecht, through offshore structures, to the former president of that country. They are part of a "shell companies" structure built by Mossack Fonseca, as shareholders of the private cable TV and telephone operator in Venezuela, Inter. Even the Panamanian law firm suspected that it was being used for money laundry. Meanwhile, another firm of the group contracted works with the Chavista State.

23/09/2018 12:00:00

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At the end of the government of Alejandro Toledo (July 2001 - July 2006) in Peru, his difficult relationship with the then Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chávez, reached the most critical point. In May 2006, Toledo would eventually withdraw his ambassador in Caracas due to, as he said, a "persistent and flagrant interference" by Chávez in internal affairs.

Despite the diplomatic rift, and maybe without the presidents in Lima and Caracas and even the entrepreneurs themselves being aware of this, a business group continued being an interconnection channel between Toledo and Chávez.

key names of the group were those of Peruvian-Israeli entrepreneur Yosef Maiman and his right-hand man and compatriot, Sabih Saylan.

In June 2006, President Alejandro Toledo, as then established by the Peruvian justice, began receiving million dollar payments from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, through the bank accounts of three offshore companies controlled by Yosef Maiman.

Meanwhile in Venezuela, Sabih Saylan ?like Maiman, also investigated and charged in Peru for his role as an intermediary in the case of Odebrecht's bribes?was the administrator of the Merhav Group subsidiary. This conglomerate of companies specializing in the development of large-scale infrastructure projects was founded by Maiman in 1975, in Israel, and at age 72, he is still the president and director thereof. Merhav had been assigned the execution of several projects of the Venezuelan Government. 

According to the SAR, Vision Investments Equities, an investor in telecommunications companies, born in Panama in 1997, but domiciled since December 2015 in the BVI, was the only one of the five "suspicious" companies by February 2017 that had activities in Venezuela.

Vision was incorporated simultaneously with another Panamanian company, Digital Investments Associates, at the request of Bentata, a Caracas law firm, which according to Imar, was fulfilling orders from the law firm formerly known as Hicks Muse, then HM Capital Partners?a private company in the United States of America, specialized in leveraged buyouts? to create several companies for Inter in order to group partners and managers and give shares to senior managers.

One of such companies was Vision Investments Equities and the instructions to create it, drawn from Caracas by lawyer José Javier Briz Kaltenborn, required Mossack Fonseca not to include the directors of the companies, and that Powers of Attorney were issued for Mr. Saylan in the name of Digital Investments Associates, and another for Malamud, Imar and Stigol, and Isaac and Gustavo Zviklich, in the case of Vision Investments Equities.