Everything seems to indicate that famed former mayor of New York and lawyer of former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, was the victim of an internet prank.
The lawyer recorded a 52-second video, from the Cameo platform, in which he unwittingly supports the case against his own client, the firm Derwick Associates, owned by Venezuelan Alejandro Betancourt.
During the clip, Giuliani thanks journalists, activists and the American diplomat, Otto Reich, on behalf of the company for their work on behalf of Derwick Associates. However, those whom the former mayor thanks are really those who have revealed and denounced the corruption surrounding Derwick Associates and Alejandro Betancourt. Among those mentioned is Orlando Avendaño, co-editor in chief of El American.
In the video, to which New York Magazine had access, Giuliani reads the endorsement and thanks to the main journalists and activists who have exposed the corruption surrounding Derwick Associates. The company is accused of having illicitly enriched itself through millionaire and fraudulent contracts with the Chavista regime in Venezuela.
Alejandro Betancourt is also accused of money laundering and bribery in Florida. According to a Reuters report, Betancourt hired Giuliani to lobby on his behalf at the State Department.
“Angus, Cesar, Orlando, Alek, Thor, Otto, this is from the Derwick Associates staff,” Giuliani says in the video. He is referring to Reuters investigative journalist Angus Berwick; Venezuelan independent investigative journalists Cesar Batiz and Alek Boyd; anti-corruption activist Thor Halvorssen; Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Venezuela, Otto Reich; and El American co-editor-in-chief and also investigative journalist, Orlando Avendaño.
“This is Rudy Giuliani, and the message they want me to deliver is: The employees and the field staff of Derwick Associates want to thank you for your honesty and devotion, that you have fought for them for years and that —um— you’re very, very exceptionally dedicated.”
The work of Orlando Avendaño
In 2018, Orlando Avendaño published a report detailing the facts of corruption surrounding Alejandro Betancourt, his company, Derwick Associates; and how Betancourt used his wealth to boost and own an eyewear brand in Spain.
In the journalistic work entitled “Hawkers: the company with money stolen from Venezuela that grows in Spain and the world,” Avendaño explained how Betancourt’s fortune was built.
“The company, founded in 2009, when Venezuela was already starting to go down a cliff of economic crisis, climbed in the country thanks to juicy contracts with the State. In fact, the firm’s first project consisted of building thermoelectric plants”, Avendaño stated in the report.
Likewise, the editor in chief of El American pointed out that it is because of this type of companies that the political and economic crisis in Venezuela deepened, affecting the citizens. The work of Avendaño, of other journalists and the coverage of important media made it possible to know the facts of corruption in the case. What was undoubtedly improbable was that his work would be applauded even by the defendant’s own defense attorney.
In this regard, on his Twitter account, one of those mentioned, activist and president of the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen, said on Twitter: “It is a happy day when Alejandro Betancourt-López, archenemy of all that is right, honest and honorable, is humiliated by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani”.
On his Twitter account, Avendaño said, “I have admired Rudy Giuliani since he was mayor of New York, but this is hilarious.”