Venezuela Bankers to Face Trial on Misuse of Depositor Funds

Venezuela will try eight bankers and the country’s former securities chief on charges related to the misuse of depositor funds, the Attorney General’s office said.

Arne Chacon and Miguel Vaz of Banco Real Banco de Desarrollo face charges of exploiting depositors, while Orlando Suarez Contramaestre, Luis Suarez Montenegro and Milagros Vivas Moncayo face charges of acting as accomplices, the attorney general said in a statement sent by e-mail last night. Antonio Marquez, a former securities regulator, will also face charges of complicity.

Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco, who owned four banks taken over by the government, and Jose Camacho Uzcategui were charged with alleged complicity in appropriating and deviating depositors’ money and undue approval of loans. Caribay Camacho de Castro, Camacho Uzcategui’s daughter, will face trial for complicity in the deviation of depositors’ money. All nine people headed to trial face the charge of association with delinquency, the statement said. All will remain in jail until their trials.

Venezuela has closed more than 12 lenders since November, after speculation of insolvency led to withdrawals and President Hugo Chavez threatened to nationalize the industry. The government arrested at least 16 bankers and issued more than 40 warrants for others who fled the country on charges of diversion of deposits and failing to prove the origin of some funds.

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