Tribute to the military

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Venezuelan Government ID Scandal Becomes Public

The following article was authored by Kenneth Rijock, Financial Crimes Consultant. Reposted with his permission.

Venezuela's dirty little secret, well known to many North American compliance officers, has surfaced: you cannot trust its government-issued forms of identification.

The Social Christian Party, which opposes the Chavez government, has complained that Venezuela's voter registry contains millions of bogus identities, created in order to insure election victories for the current regime. Three million new voter registrations have occurred since 2003. This corrupt arrangement is but a part of a tainted system of government identification that renders Venezuelan-issued IDs unsuitable for compliance purposes.

Those of you who are long-time readers of my articles on Latin America know that i have cautioned compliance officers against accepting Venezuelan government identification documents for the past three years. Corrupt government policies have resulted in the issuance of multiple identities to its political supporters, also distributing identity documents to arriving members of radical Islamic terrorists who do not even speak Spanish, and rendering the national ID system meaningless.

A few of the inconsistencies found by the Social Christian Party :
  • 2,272,706 voters listed as living in the same two-story townhouse in Caracas. A woman answer-sing the door at that address stated that seven people lived there.
  • 39,000 voters with birthdays that would put them over the age of 100; this is a statistical impossibility, in a country whose population is only 26m. If true, it would mean that ten times as many Venezuelans as American citizens are living past the age of 100.
  • 1921 voters, all with the same last name, Gonzalez, all allegedly born on the same day, 15 March, 1974, with most of them purportedly residing in Zulia State, which borders Colombia. Most of these voters are registered to vote in the same place.
  • A woman, drawing a monthly government payment, who is over the age of 150 years. The oldest living person in the world today is believed to be a 116 year-old woman in Ecuador, and the oldest documented age is 122.
  • 1.7m Venezuelans were originally registered without an address, which is a major violation of the law.
Remember, these illegal voters all must have Cedulas, national identity cards containing a unique number, to register, which means that without active governmental collusion, these voter registrations could not occur. It also tells compliance officers that many Cedulas, the generally accepted means of identification for opening bank accounts, are bogus. Caveat compliance.

Since known members of Hezbollah, Hamas, the FARC, the ELN, ETA, and other designated terrorist organizations who are operating opening in Venezuela are also holding Cedulas, potential terrorist financing exposure is also present when North American and European banks open accounts for Venezuelan nationals.

Compliance officers are strongly urged to independently verify identity for new clients who hold Venezuelan government-issued identification, lest they approve customers whose true identities make them unacceptable risks. It is suggested that verified bank references from major international institutions, located outside Venezuela, may provide the needed verification.

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