June 24, 2009 / 3:12 PM / 9 years ago

SEC:Venezuelan fugitive attempts NY apartment sale

NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) - A fugitive Venezuelan businessman charged in the United States with defrauding a subsidiary of state oil company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], is seeking buyers for his $2.5 million New York apartment, a court document made public on Wednesday said.

The document filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked a federal judge to freeze the assets of Guillermo David Clamens, his co-defendant Nazly Cucunuba Lopez and their firm involved in a purported fraud of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Clamens, an executive of registered broker-dealer FTC Capital Markets Inc in New York, and Miami-based employee Lopez were criminally charged on May 19 with conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. U.S. prosecutors and the SEC accused them of defrauding Citgo Petroleum Corp, a subsidiary of PDV Holding Inc owned by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

At the time of the charges, Clamens was in Venezuela and remains there. Lopez, also known as Lina Lopez, was arrested in Miami and released on $750,000 bond. She surrendered her travel documents.

“On June 15 and 16, Commission staff learned from a building resident and a representative of the condominium’s management company that Clamens is currently seeking buyers for the apartment and is in the process of emptying its contents,” the document said.

It also said that on May 22, Clamens tried to transfer $400,000 offshore from a JP Morgan Chase bank account held by FTC that Clamens controlled. Prosecutors were able to obtain a freeze on the account and stop the transfer, the SEC said.

The regulator said that on June 10 its investigators learned that Clamens had been trying to transfer the balance of money in FTC accounts that he controlled at Rosenthal, Collins Groupm LLC, a futures commission merchant of Chicago and New York.

The SEC complaint said Clamens and Lopez solicited a total of $560 million from Houston-based Citgo and PDV between April 2008 and November 2008. The pair invested the money in high-risk securities without the knowledge of those investors, instead of in low-risk securities, the complaint said [ID:nN20506523].

A separate lawsuit by the companies in March accused the pair of creating a “slush fund” that they used “to finance self-interested, unauthorized and speculative trading in unregistered, risky, illiquid investments in which they had financial interests, the full extent of which remain unknown.”

The cases are USA v Guillermo A. Clamens and Nazly Cucunuba Lopez 09-mag-1223 and SEC v FTC Capital Markets Inc et al 09-4755 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) (Reporting by Grant McCool, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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