The insurance companies of the Venezuelan businessman Omar Farías drag complaints in other countries where they operate and in Ecuador they have not been the exception.
EXPRESO published in 2009 a series of reports on the arrival of the businessman in Ecuador and the purchase of the insurance company Memoser, whose injection of capital began to be investigated by the control authorities. Farías has been the subject of investigations at least in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Spain for various crimes, including money laundering, according to publications from those countries.
In the report published yesterday, this newspaper reported that in the case of Andorra, which investigates an international scheme of money laundering and bribery, the name of Farías and a transfer of money in favor of Memoser Compañía de Seguros came to light. It was done from an account opened in the name of Westshore International Limited, domiciled in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. In 2007, the Venezuelan acquired that insurer that was renamed Seguros Constitución.
Before a request for an interview, the legal representative of the company, Adán Méndez Pantaleón, offered to give a statement to EXPRESO for next November 12.
In its institutional page, the company mentions that it has a presence in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Manta, and that it has made an investment of more than 8 million dollars in the country.
For net written premiums ($ 4’371,507.66 in 2018, up to September), Constitución ranks 27th among the 31 insurers registered in Ecuador. In results, the company reports losses of $ 583,089.53 this year.
The Internal Revenue Service records that the insurer has paid $ 258,036 for income tax, since 2008. In the last decade, it has paid $ 720,182.34 in tax on the outflow of foreign currency. That is to say that $ 14’403,646.80 left the country.
The Superintendence of Companies and Insurance has once again set eyes on a capital increase process carried out on April 22, 2016 by Seguros Constitución.
According to documentation to which EXPRESO had access, the inspection body was not satisfied with the documentation that the company exhibited to determine the legal origin of a contribution of $ 3.3 million made by Farías. For this reason, on March 28 of this year, the entity decided to partially disregard the aforementioned capital increase made two years earlier. In this way, the paid-up capital of the insurer was reduced to $ 4.7 million.
Considering that Seguros Constitución was in default of not having the minimum paid capital of $ 8 million, on May 7, the Superintendence resolved to declare that company in a state of forced liquidation.
But Farías managed to have that measure provisionally suspended for 18 days on June 18. A judge from the Judicial Unit of the Family, Woman, Childhood and Adolescence of Guayaquil gave him the reason, in response to a request for protective actions and precautionary measures.
An appeal filed by the Superintendence of Companies before the Provincial Court of Guayas was also rejected on August 6.
In his legal defense, Farías affirmed that “all the information and documents held by the insurance company were delivered to the control body and to the financial controller according to their requests by October 26, 2016 …”
He added that the provision consisted of “proving the origin of the money, affidavit of the partner on the suitability of the same, all transactions were banked through banks accredited in the country and abroad, banks that never objected the illegality of such funds … “
For the Superintendency, Seguros Constitución is in illegality. The agency informed this newspaper that on September 24 it filed an extraordinary protection action before the Constitutional Court. In his application, he asks to leave unsubstantiated the judicial rulings that favored Farías.
Under the spotlight since 2009
The lawfulness of the money invested in Seguros Memoser – later called Seguros Constitución – was in legal controversy since the first investments of Omar Farías.
In 2009, EXPRESO revealed that on February 18 of that year, the Superintendency of Banks had arranged a special audit for Memoser, in order to establish the origin of the funds. The then manager of the insurer, Galo Larrea Simmonds, responded to the entity that “all the investments were in accordance with Ecuadorian legal regulations and national and international transparency standards”. (I)