The former director of Colombia’s largest but now-defunct brokerage firm Interbolsa was captured on Thursday, only eight days after the release of a “red notice” permitting his arrest.
Victor Maldonado, once one of Colombia’s most celebrated businessmen, was captured in Spain.
The fugitive received a “red notice” from police network Interpol last week for his involvement in the illegal activities of the firm which lost over 20,000 investors an estimated $500 million in 2012.
Maldonado had previously received an Interpol “blue notice,” allowing for his location to be identified by police in the 192 countries associated with the organisation. However, this was raised to “red” to allow for his capture after he did not turn up to a complaint hearing in Bogota.
The “brain” of InterBolsa faces questioning over charges of conspiracy, recruitment, failure to reimburse and fraud.
Maldonado, one of the main shareholders of now the liquidated brokerage firm, was aware of the extensive illegal activities of the company’s “Premium Fund,” according to the Prosecution.
From 2009 until InterBolsa’s 2012 collapse, this fund received capital from the companies that managed the money of investors, and Maldonado injected it into his own businesses in Colombia.
“Maldonado was one of the main beneficiaries of these maneuvers. Much of the resources of the Premium Fund investors went to [his] businesses,” said the prosecutor of the Premium Fund case.
Maldonado’s defense argued that his court absence was due to his lack of procedural safeguards. However, there is speculation that the businessman could be in Italy, as the country has no extradition treaty with Colombia.
Further investigation into the 2012 failure of InterBolsa is undergoing. International firm KPMG has recently undertaken an intricate in depth analysis, taking case studies of InterBolsa’s monetary transations to find the root of failure. The results of such enquiry will aid the court’s ability to hold more ex-employees of InterBolsa to account.
Meanwhile, InterBolsa’s Spanish-language Wikipedia page has suspiciously disappeared from the internet, erasing the publicly held information about what was the biggest financial scandal in modern Colombian history.
This clear up operation of potential evidence suggests Maldonado is not the last embezzler to be uncovered.
The story of InterBolsa
Interbolsa operated as Colombia’s largest brokerage firm until November, 2012, when the government liquified the company after defaulting on $11 million dollar loan.
The scandal erupting from the fall of InterBolsa came to light after inquiries into the company’s liquidation revealed potentially criminal actions involving top government officials.
A criminal investigation was subsequently launched into an alleged money laundering scheme, where the company used assets owned by investors to collateralize a borrow and buyback scheme with shares of Fabricato, a Colombian textile company.
Following the firm’s collapse, Colombia’s Inspector General Office dismissed and banned the country’s financial superintendent from public office for 12 years. The financial superintendent was charged with failing to perform his regulatory functions within InterBolsa’s activity.
Inspector General Office said that the Financial Superintendent, Gerardo Alfredo, held preventative responsibilities that “he did not perform.”
The scandal involving InterBolsa had a widespread impact upon Colombia’s financial world in late 2012. The collapse of the brokerage firm, which accounted for approximately 25% of the country’s stock market, caused the Colombian peso to spike and investor confidence to plummet.
Bancolombia, Colombia’s largest bank, took over the failed wing of InterBolsa soon after, restoring investor confidence and causing the peso to appreciate 1%.
The governmental agreement that sanctioned Bancolombia’s investment prevented InterBolsa’s liquidity crisis from infecting the rest of the Colombian stock market.
Interbolsa, razones de la quiebra (Dinero)