(CMR) Kody Zander, VP of Sales at Byzantium, was charged on September 5 in the ongoing money laundering/gold smuggling ring out of Venezuela.
Zander appeared in court last week Friday and is now the fifth person to be charged in this matter. Thus far arrested are Daniel Alberto Aguilar Ferriozi, Francisco Antonio Di Ventura Herrera, Pedro Jose Benavides Natera, and Juan Carlos Gonzales Infante. They have all been jointly charged with two counts of money laundering and one count of concealing criminal property.
It is alleged that the men imported some $4 million worth of gold in late May. A private plane was later found to have over US$135,000 in cash hidden in a compartment on the private jet.
Zander was released on bail and is to return to court on September 18 to decide if the matter should go to Grand Court. The other men have all pleaded not guilty.
Benavides Natera and Gonzales Infante were both remanded into custody, while Aguilar Ferriozi and Di Ventura Herrera were released on bail.
Byzantium International Ltd. SEZC now Byzantium was also previously Argentum Worldwide Ltd. SEZC and was part of the CMZ Ltd. SEZC group which owned Cashwiz. The company has had a tumultuous history with the original owner, Davd Clark Jr. (59) being sentenced to 40-years imprisonment after being convicted of bank fraud and obstruction counts in 2015.
Both entities operated out of Cayman's Economic City and had multiple management changes whilst here. United States national Andrew Joseph Zahn left as Group Director and shareholder of the scandal-plagued CMZ Group in July 2014 after it was revealed the following year by OffShore Alert that he had been banned by the SEC from being involved as a director in companies.
Eventually, a close associate of Clark, David R. Barker, purchased the remnants of CMZ in December 2014 and they underwent a name changed and moved the headquarters for CashWiz to Orlando, Florida.
However, CMR understands this Clark's son-in-law, Chad McGhee, is still the majority owner and operates the Cashwiz parent company which has undergone yet another name change.
Oddly McGhee's LinkedIn biography makes no mention of the Cayman Islands entities. Instead, he falsely claims to have been working at Simple Management Group out or Orlando since 2009.
Byzantium offers several services to clients, starting with private vaulting. Its facility houses a modern Class 3 vault that is available for storage to individuals. Byzantium also sells gold and silver ranging from 1-ounce bars and coins to 1-kilogram bars
Buck is said to be an American author and former economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He was also an adjunct professor of economics at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. John Buck, who serves as the company’s managing director, is also a minority shareholder.
Byzantium is registered as a commodities and derivatives company and operates out of Dart Realty's Flagship Building on the waterfront.
Byzantium has a sister company in the Cayman Islands known as Au Ltd., which is a local company able to transact business with residents. The two-company group has six employees in Cayman, with two working with Au Ltd. and the other four with Byzantium, which provides a variety of services to overseas clients.
The company was sued in 2017 by Cayman Enterprise City Ltd. for owing over US$253,000 in back fees. Sources in the zone have informed CMR that Byzantum has subsequently been struck from the companies registry and is no longer in the economic zone. Further Byzantum no longer has any affiliation with CashWiz.