March 14, 2019 - 17:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Last week, Vovan and Lexus, the Russian telephone pranksters known for their trolling of politicians from around the world, struck again, releasing audio of their conversations with US special representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams where, posing as Swiss President Ueli Maurer, they got him to reveal important details on the US-backed effort to overthrow the Latin America's country's legitimate government, Sputnik International reports.
Now it has been revealed along with Abrams, the pranksters also managed to prank Juan Guaido himself. This, it turns out, explains last month's diplomatic faux pass by Guaido, who claimed to have spoken to Maurer about freezing Venezuelan government accounts, while the president's office denied that such a conversation ever took place.
Vladimir 'Vovan' Kuznetsov and Alexei 'Lexus' Stoliarov told Sputnik about their conversation with Guaido, which took place in the form of a phone conversation and back and forth emails.
"After the first conversation with Elliott Abrams, we were contacted by 'ambassador of the new government of Venezuela' Carlos Vecchio, who got our contact from Abrams in order to provide us with the necessary contact details and to agree on a time for our conversation with Guaido," the pair explained. The first odd detail they noticed was that Guaido insisted on holding the talks via WhatsApp or Skype in a bid to keep the talks secret.
Speaking as 'Maurer', the pranksters assured the opposition leader that he would be able to "manage" the frozen Venezuelan government accounts "as head of state." "Excellent," Guaido replied.
Told that funds would be transferred from Venezuelan officials' accounts to a personal account created for him or his representative, Guaido said that "Yes, of course. I personally understand this situation."
In a humourous moment, the pranksters sent Guaido a draft of the freeze request, mentioning 'Lexus Vovanial Bank Ltd.', a fictitious bank based on their nicknames where they suggested Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's "criminal monies" were kept.
This conversation and draft request prompted a "delighted" Guaido to tell media about his conversation with 'Maurer', and the Swiss government's later denial that such a conversation took place, Vovan and Lexus explained.
In a bid to keep the gag going following the 'miscommunication' between Guaido and Zurich, Vovan and Lexus contacted Abrams again, suggesting that the opposition leader had blabbed information which was supposed to stay confidential.
"We contacted Abrams and said that Guaido had made a mistake by revealing everything to the press," the pranksters said, telling him that prematurely revealing the freeze could lead "members of Maduro's clan" to "panic and withdraw all their money from Switzerland."
To their surprise, Abrams took the bait, sending them an email in which he admitted that "Yes – that was an error on his part," and promising to keep "everything confidential" in the future.
"I will let Guaido know, gently, that his comment was an error and should not be repeated," Abrams wrote, offering some insight into the extent of Washington's control of the opposition figure.