Our ongoing investigation into Scientologist David Gentile’s $1.8 billion Ponzi scheme a/k/a GPB Capital Holdings has now linked a seller of GPB’s Automotive Fund LTD to the staggering Brazilian Petrobras scandal.
The Guardian asked if Petrobras was the largest corruption scandal in history. The Guardian began its story with the seemingly nondescript 2015 arrest of a Brazilian oil executive named Nestor Cerveró at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport:
The investigation that led to Cerveró’s arrest – codenamed Lava Jato (Car Wash) – was about to uncover an unprecedented web of corruption. At first, the press described it as the biggest corruption scandal in the history of Brazil; then, as other countries and foreign firms were dragged in, the world. The case would go on to discover illegal payments of more than $5bn to company executives and political parties, put billionaires in jail, drag a president into court and cause irreparable damage to the finances and reputations of some of the world’s biggest companies. It would also expose a culture of systemic graft in Brazilian politics, and provoke a backlash from the establishment fierce enough to bring down one government and leave another on the brink of collapse.
October 2020: GPB Capital Holdings is hit with yet another lawsuit. Unlike the many class action lawsuits the firm is facing, this newest complaint is filed on behalf of an individual. The plaintiff is an elderly man in his 80’s named Pedro Fuentes. Captioned Ceiba Palm vs. GPB Capital Holdings, GPB Automotive Income Fund, and Ascendant Capital, the complaint contains a bombshell detail.
The lawsuit alleges David Muino sold Fuentes 3,500 shares of GPB’s Automotive Fund LTD at $100 each for a total of $350,000. This particular GPB fund is an LLC incorporated in the Grand Cayman Islands. As such, the Fund is marked “not for sale to US residents.” Pedro Fuentes is a US resident who resides in Florida.
The Panama Papers shows David Muino at the center of a constellation of front companies based in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore tax havens. Virtually all of these companies are owned using bearer bonds in order to hide their true owners:
Our research has uncovered the fact that “David Muino” is actually David Muino Suarez, a former executive of the Zurich BSI Bank. Muino Suarez was BSI’s Latin American Senior Relationship Manager.
David Muino Suarez was arrested in 2017 by Brazilian authorities for laundering $21.7 million through BSI Bank in the Petrobras scandal. A photo of Muino Suarez’s arrest in 2017:
A current photo of David Muino Suarez from his LinkedIn page:
David Muino’s LinkedIn page confirms that he was the Senior Relationship Manager with BSI bank in Latin America:
THE PANAMA PAPERS
All of the many firms to which David Muino is linked in the Panama Papers are explained by an article in Agencia EFE:
Prosecutors allege that Muino Suarez acted “as a representative of Banco BSI along with Mossack Fonseca in opening offshore (entities) used to open accounts at BSI (Switzerland) for Brazilian clients.”
The Attorney General’s Office suspects that Muino Suarez executed transactions to cover up bribes received by Eduardo Cunha, a former speaker of the lower house of Congress and one of the highest-profile politicians to be sentenced to prison in the Lava Jato case.
“There are elements that indicate his criminal participation in conduct to cover up and hide the transactions,” the AG’s office said.
Muino Suarez was a BSI relationship manager and engaged in suspicious transactions, including some that could potentially qualify as money laundering, prosecutors allege.
The banker knew the origins of the funds and participated in managing the assets, prosecutors said.
Founded in 1977 by German lawyer Jürgen Mossack and the Panamanian lawyer Ramón Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca created countless thousands of shell companies in Panama that allowed private individuals and companies to hide money and their identities in order to evade taxes, launder money, bribe politicians, hide the ownership of jets, yachts, homes, art collections, and other assets.
Swiss lawyer Christoph Zollinger later joined the firm as it grew to become a global powerhouse that had created 5-10% of the world’s shell companies. In 1987 Mossack Fonseca opened an office in the British Virgin Islands that incorporated over 100,000 shell companies in the BVI.
Mossack Fonseca’s computers were hacked and 11.5 million files were leaked in early 2016 to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). These leaked files became known as the Panama Papers and led to the collapse of Mossack Fonseca. As the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) notes:
Mossack Fonseca rarely communicated directly with the ultimate beneficiaries of its work. Instead, it corresponded with intermediaries that stood between it and the wealthy individuals seeking to shield luxury homes, yachts and jets, bank accounts and valuable art collections from unpredictable court battles, former spouses, and inquisitive tax inspectors. Some users of Mossack Fonseca’s services used their shell companies to bribe government officials and hide away mountains of cash.
We mention the Panama Papers here for six reasons:
1. Following the massive leak of its internal files, Mossack Fonseca did not know the actual identities of most of its clients. The firm only knew the middle men whose jobs were to shield the identities of their clients.
2. BSI Bank in Brazil where David Muino Suarez worked was Mossack Fonseca’s largest Brazilian client. While at BSI, Muino Suarez had Mossack Fonseca created three key accounts for his principal clients. These shell companies were Acona International Investments, Sandfield Consulting and Stingdale Holdings.
3. When Muino Suarez and his partner began selling GPB Capital funds, GPB Capital suddenly had a well-connected Latin American expert in offshore banking in its network of broker-dealers. Muino Suarez was not your average GPB Capital broker-dealer-hustler working out of a boiler room in New Jersey to push GPB Funds on unsophisticated American investors. Muino Suarez was an educated high-level professional with international banking experience who spoke four languages. Muino Suarez knew how to manipulate the banking system to hide and launder money for his clients.
4. The leak of the Panama Papers in early 2016 captured the attention of the global media, taxing authorities, law enforcement, governments, and specialized investigative journalists and investigators:
In April 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and more than 100 media partners, including the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), published hundreds of stories based on the leak of millions of internal documents that exposed the firm’s inner workings from the late 1970s to 2015.
There was suddenly an intensive effort underway to identify those individuals and companies hiding behind the no-longer-secret Mossack Fonseca shell companies. Criminals with illicit money were in an equally mad rush to relocate their money elsewhere before these funds were located, frozen, and seized by the authorities. While it may be a coincidence, Muino Suarez and his partner were selling GPB Capital’s funds outside of the US in this same timeframe. As Muino Suarez and BSI had been power users of Mossack Fonseca’s services, they knew what the leak of the Panama Papers meant. They knew the immediate dangers the leak posed to everyone secretly involved in Petrobras money laundering machine that Brazilian authorities called Lava Jato (Car Wash).
5. One of our theories is that the spectacularly fast growth of GPB Capital Holdings is accounted for, in part, by large sums of money coming in from sources such as the Russian mob, Petrobras, and other laundromats and car washes.
6. Here at the Scientology Money Project we have found several wealthy Scientologists in the Panama Papers. These include billionaire Bob Duggan, Duggan associate Michael Holstein, and Ali Shawkat, the Iraqi Scientologist who funded Scientologist Matt Feshbach’s Bahamian stem cell clinic name Okyanos. We are not saying any of these Scientologists were, or are, connected to Muino Suarez. What we are saying is that like Muino Suarez, they used the services of Mossack Fonseca to hide some of their business activities. This worked for them until the massive Panama Papers leak.
David Muino Suarez was selling shares in GPB’s Automotive Fund LTD in 2016 while he was simultaneously working as BSI’s Latin American Senior Relationship Manager. This allowed Muino Suarez access to all of BSI’s Latin American locations including Buenos Aires. How was Muino Suarez able to work for both BSI and as a dealer for Jeffry Schneider’s Ascendant Capital? The answer would seem to be that BSI Banco allowed him to do so.
A May 2016 press release from Jeffry Schneider’s Ascendant Capital LLC — an alter ego of GPB Capital Holdings — stated the following (emphasis ours):
Ascendant Capital exclusively distributes the products of GPB, an investment management firm focused on income-producing private equity and real estate… Ascendant has four current offerings and nine closed offerings as of April 15, 2016. In 2013, Ascendant launched its first GPB flagship fund and has since raised more than $535 million.
Prior to launching the GPB family of funds, Ascendant raised nearly $500 million from earlier offerings. Established in 2009, the company has grown to more than 40 employees in six divisions with satellite offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
BSI Bank has an office in Buenos Aires as does Schneider’s Ascendant Capital. Buenos Aires may have given Muino Suarez a base from which to sell GPB’s funds outside of the US. Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina. Muino Suarez’s assigned main BSI office was in Brazil. However, in his executive position with BSI Muino Suarez had freedom to travel to all BSI locations in Latin America. In order to transact certain activities, then, it would make sense for Muino Suarez to do so outside of Brazil. This would allow him to remain with the BSI internal system while remaining outside of Brazilian territory and sovereignty.
In 2017, Muino Suarez was arrested on a major felony money laundering charge in Brazil. This raises the obvious question: Was Muino Suarez using GPB Capital Holdings as one of his money laundering vehicles into which he could place dirty Petrobras money?
We have raised this same question in relation to GPB Capital’s relationship to the Russian-Israeli oligarch Michael Cherney, the reputed leader of the Izmailovskaya crime family. Whistleblower Toni Caiazzo Neff exposed GPB owner David Gentile’s ties to the reputed Russian organized crime figure Mikhail Chernaya a/k/a Michael Cherney:
Russian crime connections. While the GPB Ponzi scheme formally began in 2013 the seeds of this fraud were sowed years before when David Gentile became involved with an Eastern European organized crime family headed by Michael Chernaya a/k/a Michael Cherney. Gentile’s relationship with Chernaya, his organization, and his family ultimately led to GPB’s first portfolio assets and GPB investor funds flowing to Chernaya’s organization, an organization that included David Gentile. Michael Chernaya’s ties to foreign crime syndicates, the mafia and Russian oligarchs are extensive and well-documented. He has been denied a visa by the United States. He has been barred from Bulgaria. Court documents reveal that although he is not in the United States, his two daughters, Rina and Diana Chernaya, live in Florida and have been the recipients of tens of millions of dollars from their father.
The same questions about financial irregularities arise in terms of GPB Capital’s investment in the New York City waste management firm Five Star Carting. Despite the efforts of the BIC, waste management in the boroughs of New York City and Staten Island are controlled by organized crime. The headquarters of both GPB Capital and Five Star Carting were raided by the FBI and the BIC in February 2019.
How did Jeffry Schneider of Ascendant meet David Muino Suarez and greenlight him and his partner Jan Haenggi to sell GPB funds? What was David Gentile’s role in this?
Given the fact that GPB Capital’s former executive Manuel Vianna was born in Portugal and educated in Brazil, Vianna would seem to have been GPB’s key player here to work with Muino Suarez in Latin America.
Like his boss David Gentile, Vianna is a Scientologist. Vianna earned a Harvard MBA and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Vianna is a sophisticated individual. Muino Suarez is also educated and speaks many languages including Portuguese, Spanish, English and the languages spoken in Switzerland. Muino Suarez holds dual Swiss-Spanish citizenship.
David Muino Suarez petitioned the Brazilian court to be allowed to return to Switzerland following his arrest. Muino Suarez argued to the Brazilian authorities that he needed to support his family and, due to the charges against him, could not find work in Brazil. This matter was argued in court while the Brazilian authorities allowed Muino Suarez to remain under house arrest at his mother-in-law’s home in Brazil. Muino was required to wear an ankle bracelet and not leave his mother-in-laws home between 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM each day. Muin Suarez’s LinkedIn Page shows him to be in Switzerland at present. We are working to update Muino Suarez’s legal situation in Brazil.
David Muino Suarez opened a new company called Apodor Wealth AG. According to legal filings, Apodor is the sole manager of a company called TCA Fund Management Group Corporation. The Florida Secretary of State website shows that TCA was opened in 2011 and dissolved on September 25, 2020. The website gives the names of TCA managers as Gregory Felix and Alexander J. Lopez.
Located at 19950 W. Country Club Drive, Suite 101, in Aventura, Florida the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged TCA with securities fraud in May 2020. TCA was thereafter placed into receivership by a US court.
NBC News: Whistleblowers say TCA Fund Management Group has $300 million in assets, not $500 million, and is earning 1.92 percent a year, not 7 or 8 percent.
The relationship between GPB Capital Holdings and TCA, if any, is unknown at this writing. An investigation is underway. David Muino Suarez appears to be the only common link at this time.
What is certain is that GPB Capital Holdings takes any researcher or investigator into an Alice in Wonderland world where nothing is as it seems.
We conclude by saying this: It is stunning to think that a simple $350,000 securities fraud lawsuit filed in Florida against GPB Capital and Ascendant Capital would expose David Muino Suarez’s sales of GPB Funds. What else will our investigation uncover?
David Gentile should have just returned Pedro Fuentes’ $350,000 when asked to do so. Instead, Gentile delayed for over two years and refused to do anything. We salute Señor Fuentes’ sons for fighting for their father and filing the lawsuit on his behalf.
We go deeper into certain relationships in our next installment.
The Ceiba Palm vs. GPB Capital Holdings, GPB Automotive Income Fund, and Ascendant Capital Complaint:gpb.lawsuit.Oct.2020
Read the file: Federal Public Ministry, State Attorney’s Office in Paraná, Brazil. Indictment and Questioning of David Muino Suarez. Portuguese to English Translation from Google.Indictment.and.Interrogation.of.David.Muino.Suarez.Brazil
Categories: The Scientology Money Project
David Muino Suarez certainly seems to find it easy to start investment fund companies. Did Brazil think he’d gladly hop on the next flight back for a trial?