BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The United States is investigating an Israeli-Argentine businessman for allegedly helping to hide the secret fortune of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Diego Adolfo Marynberg, 44, also known as Zev Marynberg, based in New York and Buenos Aires, reportedly is under the spotlight of the Justice and Treasury departments for his role in Maduro’s money movements. Maduro reportedly has stolen $1.2 billion from the Venezuelan national treasury.
The financial movements of Marynberg is “the new path” of the U.S. investigation, according to a report in the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. The report said that Marynberg started to operate in Venezuela in 2006 and that the money flows through his company Adar Capital Partners, which has offices in Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv and New York.
Its managing director, Bryan Shapira, told the Argentine news website Infobae that the accusations and the article naming Marynberg are false while confirming that the firm had some legal operations with Venezuela until 2015. The Infobae report includes links to Shapira’s letter to the editor in El Tiempo explaining that the company has been a victim of extortion.
Marynberg, who is Jewish, is a supporter of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
“During the last two and a half decades, Marynberg has been an active benefactor of schools, hospitals and religious institutions in Israel,” Shapira told Infobae.
Haaretz reported that he gave tens of millions of shekels to The Fund for Nurturing the Zionist Idea, or FNZI, for building housing in the settlements.
The U.S. government is trying to stop some of the financial sources of Maduro, who is pro-Iran and anti-Israel. The Trump administration is preparing to issue sanctions against businessmen that help Maduro to hide money, and Marynberg could be on that list.
Venezuela is living under tension and violent protests after the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president on Jan. 23 and called on Maduro to order new elections, saying last year’s national balloting was fraudulent. Israel joined the United States and dozens of other countries in supporting Guiado.
Maduro said in an interview in February that he feels “love for the noble Palestinian cause,” and sent words of “encouragement to the Palestinian and Arab prisoners confined in Israeli jails.” He called Guaido “a CIA agent who serves the interests of the United States and the Zionists.”