An investigation by the Center for a Secure Society, led by Global Security and Counterterrorism expert Joseph Humire, whose report entitled “The Maduro-Hezbollah Nexus: How Iran-Backed Networks Underpin the Venezuelan Regime,” includes an investigation into Majed Khalil Majzoub whose tentacles in the Middle East could allegedly make him the candidate to succeed Álex Saab, one of the financial operators of the Nicolás Maduro regime who is currently behind bars in Cape Verde, on an indictment by the United States on charges of money laundering and corruption.
Who are the brothers who have caught the attention of researchers?
Majed Khalil Majzoub and Khaled Khalil Majzoub are two business brothers of Lebanese origin who are alleged to be linked to radical Islamic organizations. Both would have amassed enormous fortunes in the shadow of their political relations with the high power Venezuelan Chavista. It is said that the two allegedly contributed to the entrenchment of Islamic terrorist groups on the island of Margarita and, also, that they have allegedly put their tuna fleet at the service of drug trafficking.
To date, there is no indictment against the two men in any of the United States federal courts. The Khalil Majzoud lawyers have denied all previous versions and have stated that their clients are honest businessmen who have nothing to do with the accusations made about them in the press.
The name of Khaled Khalil Majzoud was mentioned by the Venezuelan press when the case was announced by the nephews of the Venezuelan presidential couple, Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efraín Antonio Campos Flores, sentenced for drug trafficking in a United States court.
The reports indicated that the Flores had used an aircraft in their operations, specifically the day they were arrested in Haiti when they tried to collect payment for the drugs they planned to introduce into North American territory. It was insisted that the plane was owned by one of the Khaled Khalil Majzoub companies. This information did not appear in any of the court documents for the Southern District of New York that are part of this file.
Recently their names came up because of the intention to buy a plane that had been unregistered in the United States to be sold to the Khalil Majzoub brothers. The Venezuelan businessman who intended to do business with those allegedly linked to the Nicolás Maduro regime was deported from the United States and his aircraft confiscated by federal authorities.
Khalil’s name was also referenced when a note was released about a plane that would have transported Nikos Pappas, operator of Alexis Tsipras, the Greek premier, when in August 2013 he would have paid a secret visit to Margarita with Artemis Artemiou, lawyer specialist in offshore commercial structures.
This trip by Pappas was highly questioned in Greece and parliamentary bodies asked to investigate it. A note from The National Herald portal refers that deputies of the Greek opposition party, New Democracy, in the voice of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, demanded that the aforementioned Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, explain the reasons that led him to move to Venezuela in 2013 in the company of a lawyer specialized in offshore companies. The parliamentarian cited a report in the newspaper “Eleftheros Typos” in which the visit was reported.
“It is absolutely true that Messrs. Pappas and Artemiou did not meet in Caracas to talk about vegetables, as the minister had originally stated and was later refuted by Artemiou, but they had a series of meetings with various representatives of the Chávez government and businessmen, that Pappas, for his own reasons, tried to keep the secret. “
Due to a photograph in which the lawyer was seen leaving the seat of government on October 10, 2016, Nikos Pappas had to admit that he knew Artemiou, but only accepted the trip to Caracas after photographs of the woman were also shown. visit.
The note reports that Artemiou and Pappas made the trip aboard a private jet owned by Majed Khalil Majzoub, who is cited in the review as a businessman “involved in very dark affairs” and with “privileged ties to the Maduro regime.” . It is specified that they visited the island of Margarita and stayed at a luxury resort owned by Khalil.
The deputy raised several questions, such as the reason for Artemiou’s visit to the Maximos Mansion on October 10, 2016; what experience Artemiou brought to Tsipras and Pappas, given that he specializes in offshore firms; who paid for the trip to Venezuela; whether the SYRIZA party received funding from either the Venezuelan government or the companies; if Pappas met with Khalil in Venezuela; if the plane he used belonged to Khalil; yes Khalil met with a member of the Greek government after January 25, 2015; and the links between Pappas, Artemiou and Khalil.
The Khalil Majzoub object to the accusations
Regarding the accusations that link them to Islamic terrorism and the entry of these irregular forces into Venezuela, especially Margarita, as well as the use of their tuna fleet by drug trafficking, the Khalil brothers, through their lawyers, complained about such information to the newspaper Las Américas.
In a letter sent to the newspaper’s editorial staff on November 24, 2015, lawyers for Majed Khalil and Khaled Khalil affirmed that their clients “have never offered refuge to terrorists and have never been associated with Islamic fundamentalism” and, in this sense , demanded the public retraction of the information and warned that if they did not do so, they would proceed to sue the media.
But the accusations in this regard are maintained against Majed Khalil Majzoub, presenting him as an alleged Islamic operator of Lebanese origin who would have amassed his fortune sheltered by Tareck El Aissami and Diosdado Cabello. The latter would be after the purchase of the Eveba Group, having facilitated the transaction before the Castro Iglesias family. In fact, it is claimed that Majed Khalil Majzoub would be an alleged front man for the senior PSUV leader and president of the questioned National Constituent Assembly.
Prensa América in one of its notes, refers that Majed Khalil would be the one who has the greatest relationship with senior government officials, particularly with the former vice president, José Vicente Rangel; with the ANC-appointed prosecutor, Tarek William Saab; with the ex-governor of Bolívar, Francisco Rangel Gómez; and as already noted, with Diosdado Cabello.
It is indicated that the wife of Majed Khalil, Patricia Olivares Taylhardat, has represented Diosdado Cabello, José David Cabello, Jorge and Delcy Rodríguez to hide a fortune amounting to 400 million dollars in Panama, the United States and Turkey. This woman would be the owner of the Braganza Jewelry, Coco Thai & Lounge, Director of the On Time Corp Editorial Group, of the Exxit 21 CA Editorial Group and of the Ikin Hotel in Margarita, among other properties.
He adds that presenting himself as an opponent of Nicolás Maduro at present presumably serves Patricia Olivares Taylhardat as a front “while enjoying the dirty money obtained from the misfortune of all Venezuelans.”
Prensa América indicates that, during the first years of Chavismo in power, the companies of the Khalil brothers were highly favored with important contracts and had easy access to duty-free import licenses and credits. “These privileged companies were assisted to the extent that they collaborated with the placement of their products in the local market through social programs financed by the Government, through entities such as CASA, the Agricultural Services Program and Proal, the Program of Strategic Foods, which it bought from the Khalil organization ”.
The Hardwell Technologie company was in charge of the computerized systems of the Venezuelan Army’s Intelligence Department. He was also in charge of the installation of radars and equipment for the control tower of the Simón Bolívar de Maiquetía International Airport; the execution of works for the Mayor’s Office of the Libertador de Caracas municipality, the General Command of the Navy, the Central Bank of Venezuela and Inviobras of the Bolívar state, the ministries such as Education, Defense, Tourism, Popular Economy, among other public organizations. Likewise, the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana, the Electrification of Caroní, PDVSA and the Vice Presidency of the Republic, are among its clients.
Pacific Rim Energy, of which it owns 50 percent of the shares, “would have incurred in defaults on the electrical projects San Diego de Cabrutica, Alberto Lovera in Anzoátegui and Ezequiel Zamora in Guárico, having delayed the execution of works for more than one year”.
Accused in Bolivia
Venezuela Politics. “Venezuelan businessman linked to drug trafficking is investigated in the Senate of Bolivia.” October 22, 201
Bolivian Senator Arturo Murillo reported in 2017 that Khalealil Majzoub was being investigated by the Legislative Branch of that nation, due to the alleged links that the businessman would maintain with drug trafficking.
A note from the Bolivian portal Página Siete made mention of the information that the businessman pointed out as the owner of the plane in which the nephews of the Venezuelan presidential couple traveled to Haiti when they were captured for later being prosecuted for drug trafficking, resulting guilty.
Murillo said that in the altiplano nation the businessman is registered as Khaled Khalil Majzoub and in Bolivia as Kaled Majzoub.
He pointed out that Khalil Majzoub was a beneficiary of millionaire contracts from the Bolivian state through his companies. “They are companies that are working with the Bolivian State for around 1,500 million Bolivians. It is a very high sum. But what is striking is that this man has entered the country 217 times with seven different document numbers, with a Canadian passport. and a Venezuelan passport. ”Therefore, he asked the authorities to investigate the use of seven different documents to enter and leave that country..
Also in Colombia
The name of Khaled Khalil Majzoub also made itself felt in Colombia, where, according to the La FM portal, he allegedly did business with the former Minister of Mines of the Álvaro Uribe administration, Hernán Martínez Torres.
In the New Granada nation, Khalil Majzoub is the majority shareholder and main member of the board of directors of the company Atunec, Atunes y Enlatados del Caribe, established in 1994 by Hernán Martínez and his family, with a capital of 1,000 million pesos, as well as also by the businessmen Álvaro Bustamante Steer and Álvaro Alegría Eraso.
In 2014, Khaled Majzoub’s company, Propisca, acquired the majority of Atunec shares, namely 83 percent as of the publication date.
The note from La FM also indicates that Atunec would sell products for the Venezuelan food program CLAP. The information stands out that although “the former minister Hernán Martínez does not appear in the certificates of existence and legal representation that the Chambers of Commerce issue regarding the Atunec company. But in La FM we learned of numerous minutes of the Assemblies of Members that reveal the business link between both “.