Those Russian telephone pranksters have been at it again! This time they punked American war-monger Elliott Abrams. Abrams was previously known, and not beloved, for his role in the Central American death squads of the 1980’s, under President Ronald Reagan. And more recently as President Trump’s “Special Representative for Venezuela”, where he hopes to achieve the overthrow of socialism and the theft of Venezuelan oil. (And probably more death squads.)
Unfortunately for Abrams, he was captured on tape being, not only a war-monger but also an ignorant fool.
So, the pranksters did what they always do, and it’s amazing how many people still fall for this gag: They phoned Abrams pretending to be somebody else and got him to say things that normally he would not say if he knew he was being overheard. It’s pure entrapment, and it’s always funny when it happens to somebody who is fundamentally evil.
The pranksters are Vladimir Kuznetsov (aka “Vovan”) and Alexei Stolyarov (aka “Lexus”). On this occasion they were pretending to be the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer. Maurer belongs to the Swiss People’s Party, and is known as an aggressive populist. He actually had nothing to do with this prank.
The faux-Ueli phoned Abrams on February 19 to let him know about some suspicious Venezuelan accounts in the Swiss bank of Limpopo. (The pranksters have used “Limpopo” before. It’s the name of an actual river in South Africa, but in Russian children’s books, it was used as the name of a fake African country where Doctor Aibolit works.) So, “Ueli” is worried that the Limpopo accounts are being used by the Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, to stash money for himself and his cronies. Not to mention the accounts of Venezuelan oil companies such as PVDSA, attempting to hide their oil revenues from its rightful owners, the Unites States of America!
Elliott Abrams responded to this shocking news by demanding that these accounts in the Limpopo Bank must be blocked forthwith. He was worried that the money might escape before it can be turned over to the “legitimate” Venezuelan President chosen by the U.S., namely Juan Guaidó. Instead of thanking “Ueli” for his proactive phone call, Abrams then proceeded to threaten the poor fellow: Switzerland must freeze these accounts immediately, he barked over the phone. If you don’t comply, then the U.S. will launch legal actions against Bern. Poor trembling “Ueli” assured Abrams that he will freeze the accounts, just as soon as the U.S. forwards him the necessary documentation. He also requested a personal meeting with Guaidó, which Abrams promised him he would get.
After they hung up from the phone call, the pranksters sent to Abrams and Carlos Vecchio (Guaidó’s Ambassador to the U.S.) a list of people whom the fake “Ueli” supposedly found to have accounts in the Swiss bank. These are Venezuelan citizens whose accounts must be frozen immediately, and also certain foreigners whose money is subject to American sanctions. The names on the pranksters list included such Russian celebrities (and Oppositionists) as: Ksenia Sobchak, Dmitry Bykov, and Mark Feigin. Also included, as a broad hint, was the Swiss bank known as Lexus Vovanial Bank Ltd. A bank wherein, they assured Abrams, Maduro hides his hoard.
Abrams is such an ignorant fool, that he didn’t even catch that broad hint. (All he had to do was google “Lexus Vovan”. Instead, he was quite pleased with himself, and with the list of victims that he had been given. He forwarded the list to the American Finance Ministry, which proceeded to get to work on it. Carlos Vecchio was also quite happy, he promised to keep this matter top secret and only inquired, when he might be given control over these blocked accounts.
In the following days Vecchio continued to contact Lexus-Vovan, to ask if “Maurer” had uncovered Maduro’s Swiss bank accounts. “Maurer” informed him that he had found a fund called “NurlanBaidilda Ltd” Tender First which contains Maduro’s personal hoard! Unfortunately, due to legal concerns, he is not able to block this account.
Despite warnings not to publicize this information, Vecchio immediately contacted Bloomberg and gave an interview on this theme. He also posted on Twitter about this “NurlanBaidilda” fund, and tens of thousands of people read these tweets.
A couple of weeks go by, Abrams and Vecchio still haven’t figured it out. The pranksters hook up with Abrams for one more phone call and ask him bluntly if he is going to invade Venezuela. Abrams says no, the U.S. is not really planning to invade Venezuela. (It’s a bluff, apparently.)
So, that’s the basic summary of what happened. Here is the video of the first phone call, along with a transcript, in Russian. Oh, wait, I just realized that the original phone call is actually in English, so I don’t need to translate. Here it is, in English.
Hearing the voices of these people, one appreciate, in all its glory, the characteristics of the modern American ruling elite: a combination of sheer Arrogance, Ignorance and brazen Criminality!