Venezuela’s Banesco Says No Sale to Government

Venezuela’s largest private bank says it won’t be sold to Venezuela’s government, despite speculation sparked by a top socialist party official. 

Venezuela’s largest private bank says it has no plans to be sold to the country’s government

Puebla, Mexico, January 12, 2017 ( – Venezuela’s Banesco dismissed reports Thursday that it was on the cusp of being purchased by President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

“Banesco is not for sale,” the bank’s president, Juan Carlos Escotet, tweeted.

The statement came after United Socialist Party of Venezuela Vice President Diosdado Cabello suggested the government was considering buying the bank.

“Banesco will become part of the public banking system,” Cabello said during his program on state television Wednesday. 

The government already owns just over 2 percent of Banesco shares.

“For that 2.34 percent, they wanted to pay us BsF 387 million,” Cabello said. On Venezuela’s currency black market, that’s a little over US$2000.

“It’s okay, I think it’s okay,” said Cabello, before stating Banesco’s head Juan Carlos Escotet “is telling us that the rest of the shares of Banesco, that is, 97.66 [percent], are worth BsF 413,000 million.”

That figure is worth around US$2.3 million on Venezuela’s currency black market, though Cabello put the possible sale price at US$3.5 million.

Cabello also said he had already raised the issue to Maduro, who he said is “totally willing to buy Banesco”. The socialist party leader continued by asking, “Where do we [make the] deposit, Escotet?”

“We are going to buy it at the price you wanted to buy the state shares,” he added.

It’s unclear if Cabello’s suggestion was a serious proposal, or if he was merely ridiculing the price Banesco allegedly offered for the government’s shares.

Either way, Escotet responded to the comments by stating, “As I already said in 2014, children are not sold.”

“Today more than ever, I am betting on Venezuela,” he said.

Escotet is one of Latin America’s wealthiest men, and the only Venezuelan to appear on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. According to the index, Escotet’s net worth is estimated at US$4.84 billion.