Voting Machine Company Vows No Connection to Venezuelan President Chavez

"We sought out a CFIUS review because we are confident it will clear the air"

by / November 1, 2006
Following news reports last week alleging a connection between the Smartmatic Corp. and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. and its parent the Smartmatic Corp, on Sunday announced that the companies have voluntarily submitted a notice to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The companies filed voluntarily in order to allow the U.S. government to review Smartmatic's acquisition of Sequoia.

"No foreign government or entity -- including Venezuela -- has ever held an ownership stake in Smartmatic, and we have voluntarily filed with CFIUS to put to rest the baseless but persistent rumors about our ownership," said Antonio Mugica, Chief Executive Officer, Smartmatic.

The firm said it is owned primarily by three entrepreneurs: Antonio Mugica, a dual-Spanish-Venezuelan national (78.8 percent); Alfredo Anzola (3.87 percent); and Roger Pinate (8.47 percent). The other main investor is Jorge Massa (5.97 percent), a French-Venezuelan businessman. Smartmatic employees and friends and family own the remainder of the firm (2.89 percent).

As part of the CFIUS process, Smartmatic and Sequoia said they have voluntarily provided significant information to CFIUS on all aspects of the two firms' businesses and ownership and the security and integrity of Sequoia's voting solutions.

"As a company, we sought out a CFIUS review because we are confident it will clear the air so we can focus on what we do best -- making the world's most secure and auditable voting solutions," added Antonio Mugica.