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US Sanctions 23 Actors With Ties to Venezuelan Oil

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro removes his mask as he prepares to speak about his annual report to the nation before legislators in the National Assembly, Caracas, Jan. 12, 2021.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday sanctioned three individuals, fourteen entities, and six vessels for their ties to a Mexico-based network involved in the sale of Venezuelan oil benefitting the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The list of actors designated by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) includes an Italian and a Swiss citizen, as well as a Venezuelan-Spanish dual citizen. The listed entities include organizations based in places like Malta, Panama and Zimbabwe. Two U.S. companies based in New York City were also designated.

Starting today, U.S. property of the sanctioned entities is frozen, while U.S. based companies that are more than 50% owned by the designated individuals and entities are blocked.

“Those facilitating the illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to circumvent United States sanctions contribute to the corruption that consumes Venezuela,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “The United States remains committed to targeting those enabling the Maduro regime’s abuse of Venezuela’s natural resources.”

Last June, OFAC designated five other actors for their participation in a sanctions-evasion scheme benefitting the Maduro regime and the state-controlled oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA). PdVSA and the Venezuelan Central Bank have also been sanctioned under President Donald Trump.

As of October 2020, the Treasury Department had imposed sanctions on around 160 Venezuelan or Venezuelan-connected individuals, while the State Department had revoked the visas of more than 1,000 individuals and their families, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

The U.S. is among the Western nations that recognized opposition leader Juan Guido as Venezuela’s interim president.

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