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Former commander-in-chief, Venezuelan Armed Forces

Víctor Cruz Weffer

Seychelles company acquired after charges of wrong-doing

Related to  Venezuela
Data from: Panama Papers
Víctor Cruz Weffer was the commander-in-chief of Venezuela’s army from July 2001 until his dismissal in December 2001 following graft accusations relating to his previous management of a $113 million social development fund. An investigation of Weffer began in 2002 and charges of illicit enrichment and failing to disclose financial interests were made by public prosecutors in April 2007. Prosecutors also alleged that Weffer, once close to President Hugo Chávez, sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to overseas bank accounts. Charges were filed one month before Weffer acquired shares in the Seychelles company Univers Investments Ltd. Weffer was acquitted in 2011 but an appeal is ongoing.

In the data

Records showed Cruz Weffer was the shareholder of Univers Investments Ltd., a company incorporated in Seychelles in 2007. The firm issued bearer shares, a financial instrument that can be used to obscure the ownership of offshore structures. The company of Venezuela’s ex-commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces was noted as inactive in January 2011.

Response

Cruz Weffer denied ever having held shares in Univers Investments Ltd. "If you navigate the Internet, you can verify that the Seychelles are a group of islands in Africa, where I never was. Therefore, it is not possible that I could register any company in that place," he said. "You can easily check my trips abroad in the exit and entry records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.'

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