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ABOVE – David Gentile


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 Petrobas scandal.

The Guardian asked if Petrobas 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.

Two financial advisors named David Muino and Jan Haenggi founded a company they called JTS Investments. While at JTS,  the two men 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.

Footnote 2 in the complaint says of financial advisors Haenggi and Muino:

The Financial Advisors were financial advisors at BSI Ltd., a bank in Zurich, Switzerland (“BSI”), until both Financial Advisors left BSI and created their own company, called JTS Investments, but the Financial Advisors acted on behalf of and with actual and apparent authority of the Defendants GPB Capital and the Fund at all times relevant therein.

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:

ABOVE + BELOW – David Muino Suarez

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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:

All of the many firms to which David Muino is linked in the Panama Papers are likely 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.

David Muino Suarez was selling shares in GPB’s Automotive Fund LTD while he was simultaneously working as a senior executive for BSI Bank in Buenos Aires. How was Muino Suarez able to do this?

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. To do so, Muino Suarez and his partner Jan Haenggi used their Zurich-based JTS Investments.

In 2017, Muino Suarez was arrested on a major felony money laundering charge in Brazil. The raises the obvious question: Was Muino Suarez using GPB Capital Holdings as one of his money laundering vehicles into he could place dirty Petrobras money?

We have raised this same question in relationship to GPB Capital’s relationship to the Russian-Israeli oligarch Michael Cherney, the reputed leader of the Izmailovskaya crime family. Whistleblower Toni Neff exposed GPB’s David Gentile’s ties to reputed Russian organized crime figure Mikhail Chernaya a/k/a Michael Cherney.

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ABOVE – Michael Chernaya (aka: 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.

How did Jeffry Schneider of Ascendant meet David Muino Suarez and greenlight he and his partner Jan Haenggi to sell GPB funds? What was David Gentile’s role in this?

The same questions 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.

Curiously, Brazilian authorities allowed Muino Suarez to return to Switzerland following his arrest (Muino Suarez has dual Spanish-Swiss citizenship).

Once he was back in Switzerland, 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 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.

TCA Receivership Order

NBC NewsWhistleblowers 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 at 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?

We go deeper into certain relationships in our next installment.