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Miguel Atala, the partner and friend of former Peruvian President Alan García, appears in the ‘Pandora Papers’

After Alan García’s suicide, on April 17, 2019, Miguel Atala Herrara, friend and partner of the ex-president, confessed that he acted as García’s intermediary.

After the suicide of Alan García, on April 17, 2019, Miguel Atala Herrara, friend and partner of the ex-president, confessed to the Lava Jato Special Team that he acted as an intermediary for García so that he receives one million 312 thousand dollars from Odebrecht, through of the offshore company Ammarin Investment INC.

Between 2010 and 2018, Miguel Atala – former director and vice president of Petroperú during the second Aprista government – made more than 40 deliveries of cash to Alan García, in armed forces of 20,000 or 30,000 dollars, in different places such as the Government Palace, the Institute of Government and Public Management of the USMP, and the former president’s house.

Atala paid García with money that he handled in Peru and used for his personal use the money deposited by Odebrecht – through the Klienfeld offshore – in the bank account of Ammarin Investment INC, in the Private Bank of Andorra (BPA), opened by direct indication of Jorge Barata, former superintendent of the Brazilian construction company in Peru.

IDL-R published, in May 2019, how Miguel Atala moved part of the money from Ammarin Investment INC to his own accounts and how he spent it afterwards.

New bank records and documents from ‘Pandora Papers’ – the investigation led by the ICIJ and of which IDL-R is a part – allow a complete X-ray of how Miguel Atala handled the funds that Odebrecht deposited with Ammarin Investment INC.

On October 16, 2017, Miguel Atala opened an account in the Private Banking of Andorra, through Ammarin Investment INC, established a short time before in Panama.

Atala made a first deposit of about $ 10,000 to cover account opening expenses from the offshore Coher & Coher Investment Co.

According to the testimony of the effective collaborator 2017-07-2, before the Lava Jato Special Team on September 23, 2019, that company belonged to a close relative of Atala who loaned him money to make that payment. However, the records of ‘Pandora Papers’ reveal that the owners of Coher & Coher Investment Co. are Miguel Atala himself and his wife, María Nemi de Atala.

The company was incorporated on January 16, 1997 under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and its agent is Trident Trust.

The offshore registered address is 8745 SW 109 ST Miami, Florida. According to Florida public records, Atala has owned that property since 1986. He paid $ 185,000 for it. According to sources close to Atala, he bought the house for his father and keeps it until today as a family home. Its current value is just over $ 600,000.

According to the same sources, Coher & Coher Investment Co. was established with the objective of buying and managing a property. This materialized in 1999, with the acquisition of a commercial premises in the Florida Keys. “The offshore was done in order to protect the patrimony. If the property is bought by an offshore one, no inheritance taxes are paid, ”the sources told IDL-R.

The place is in Key Largo (Cayo Largo), the largest island in Los Cayos. The address is 103100 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, Apt. 52, and is currently rented from a tattoo shop called Fire INK Tattoo.

Atala has also handled credit cards through Coher & Coher Investment Co., between 2008 and 2020, according to the records of ‘Pandora Papers’. According to an email exchange in March 2008, Atala applied to Trident Trust, the company’s resident agent, for a credit card.

The documentation includes two authorization forms for two Mastercard credit cards, in different periods. The first with a validity until 2017, and the second with an expiration of 2020. Miguel Atala appears as the holder of both cards.

The money route

Between 2008 and 2012, Ammarin Investment INC made six money transfers. The first went to Knoxville Overseas Trading Corp, on December 29, 2008, for an amount of $ 69,500, to a bank account at Atlantic Security Bank, in the Cayman Islands.

Knoxville Overseas Trading Corp. belongs to Peruvians Estevan Daneliuc Peslar and his wife Carmen Añon Ferreiro. It was acquired by them on February 6, 2006, through the Atlantic Security Bank where the company’s bank account is registered, opened with $ 80,000 from another bank account (113730) of the same bank.

Certificates of shares of the Knoxville Overseas Trading Corp. offshore, in the name of Estevan Daneliuc and Carmen Añon de Daneliuc.

Estevan Daneliuc, who has held the position of general manager at Topitop and at the San Cristobal textile company, has been a friend of Atala for approximately 50 years, according to sources linked to Atala. The deposit corresponded, according to the same sources, to a personal loan.

After this transfer the account was inactive for four years.

Just in June 2012, Miguel Atala made two transfers to his cousin Maher Hamideh Ghalieh, to an account at Suntrust Bank, on the 6th and 18th of that month, for a total amount of $ 187,370.

Sources close to Atala told IDL-R that the transfers corresponded to his purchase of land in the city where his father was born and raised, today under the government of the Palestinian National Authority. As it was necessary to regularize paperwork to carry out the purchase and sale, according to sources, Hamideh gave Atala land as collateral on a farm in the La Mariposa farmhouse, in Piura, through his son, Samir Atala.

According to the same sources, the purchase did not materialize, but the money was not returned.

According to public records, Samir Atala has broad legal powers granted by Hamideh since 2010, who lives in North Carolina, in the United States, and has a car sales company called Capital Motors.

Ammarin Investment INC records a transfer to Nazir Yusuf, Maher Hamideh’s brother-in-law, for $ 57,000, dated June 6, 2012. According to IDL-R sources, this was a wrong transfer. “That amount went and came back because the account was bad and was forwarded to Maher” in a June 18 transfer to Hamideh’s account at Suntrust Bank.

The remaining money that Odebrecht deposited to the Ammarin Investment INC account was transferred by Miguel Atala to a Scotiabank account in Panama, jointly with his wife and sons Samir and Miguel José. Part of that money was used to buy a property in San Isidro, which was later sold; and the same was transferred to a Peruvian account at the same bank, the sole beneficiary of which is Atala. (See: How did Atala move the BPA money?)

In the period in which these transfers were made, Miguel Atala received in his Scotiabank account in Peru funds from the company 7730 Investments LLC, registered in 2011 in Florida, and whose directors until 2019 were he and his son Miguel José. The company was formed to buy and manage a property.

According to Florida public records, this company purchased in June 2011 a property for an amount of $ 1,720,000, located at 7740 Dickens Avenue, in Miami. According to sources with knowledge of the Atala family’s real estate businesses, the money used to buy this property was the product of the sale of a house in San Isidro.

Currently the director of the company is Taleb Atala, Miguel’s brother.

In parallel to the money movements that Miguel Atala made from the Ammarin Investment INC account at the BPA, in Lima he promptly delivered cash to Alan García.

The first delivery took place in the Government Palace, on Thursday, June 8, 2010 and the following ones lasted until 2018, the year in which Jorge Barata began to confess to the Lava Jato Special Team in the context of the Odebrecht corporate denunciation process with the prosecution. This was described by IDL-R in the article entitled ‘Atala’s money deliveries to Alan’, dated March 6, 2020.

One of those deliveries, the fourteenth, took place in the house of Miguel Atala during the celebration for the baptism of his grandson, son of Samir. Alan García arrived at dinner accompanied by Roxanne Cheesman, after 7:30 p.m., on March 5, 2013. The moment was recorded in this photograph:

Garcia and Cheesman stayed for about three hours. As they were about to leave, Atala handed Garcia a champagne bottle can containing $ 30,000.

All the payments to the former president were recorded by Atala in a notebook, in which he kept detailed accounts of the amounts and dates of each delivery of money. Alan García received periodic reports of the account statement based on what was registered in the book, so that he had clarity about what was delivered and the balance to be delivered. (I)

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