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Monday, September 24, 2007

Central figure in Argentinian money laundering scandal arrested in Italy for drug trafficking

Central figure in Argentinian money laundering scandal arrested in Italy for drug trafficking

World-check.com

Kenneth Rojick

 

22 September 2007

Walter Alexander "Alex" Del Nogal, who fled Argentina when his associate, Venezuelan-American Guido Antonini Wilson was caught smuggling US$800,000 into Buenos Aires, has been arrested in Italy on charges of international narcotics trafficking. At the time Del Nogal was using the alias Marco Walter Alexander; he has been wanted by Switzerland for several years, after he reportedly escaped from a Swiss prison, where he was serving a sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering. Italian sources have stated that he was an important financier in the reelection campaign of Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez Frias. His arrest further supports the belief that the source of funds delivered in Argentina by Antonini and others, intended as illegal political campaign contributions, was from drug trafficking.

Del Nogal [UID 441492] was arrested upon arrival at Milan-Malpensa Airport when he arrived on a flight from Madrid. Italian media sources report that he was detained upon the order of a magistrate located in Palermo, Sicily, which raises the issue of whether he was involved with traditional Italian organised crime, more commonly known as the Mafia.

He abruptly left his hotel in the Argentinian city of Bariloche, where he had been staying for two weeks, as soon as the news broke regarding the discovery of Antonini's bulk-cash smuggling operation, and exited Argentina forthwith.  Since then, he has been suspected of being the individual who had a major role in distributing illicit campaign contributions in Argentina. His international travels also took him to Bolivia, where authorities have raised the issue of his activities in that country.

Walter Del Nogal was pardoned by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez whilst serving a 20-year prison sentence for homicide, after he and an associate, Ramiro Francisco Helmeyer Quevedo** [UID 441490], threw a victim out of an airplane aloft over the Caribbean. Notwithstanding his criminal past, Del Nogal currently holds two important positions in the Venezuelan government:

  • Coordinator of Security to President Chavez.
  • Financial Advisor (with senior rank) to Venezuela's Office of Prevention & Inspection, more commonly known by its acronym, DISIP, the country's secret police organisation, which is attached to the Ministry of Interior and Justice.


More arrests are expected; this Italian case will certainly expose the role played by a major criminal organisation in Venezuela, which is engaged in exporting narcotics to Europe. Obviously, Del Nogal's arrest warrant was not made public, and only unsealed when he arrived in Milan, and attempted to enter the country. Venezuelan authorities, who have not only pardoned Del Nogal and Helmeyer, but given them law enforcement positions in the government, certainly will not honor any arrest warrants issued by Italy.

As more information becomes available concerning the involvement in this case of other individuals previously named in the "suitcasegate" scandal, World-Check shall immediately publish it for our readers. 
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ * Helmeyer is reportedly wanted by Canadian authorities on drug trafficking offences.

 

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