USA sanctions Russian bank accused of financing the Venezuelan Petro

The US Treasury has sanctioned a Russian bank which has been accused of financing Venezuela's national cryptocurrency the Petro

The US Treasury has sanctioned a Russian bank which has allegedly attempted to circumvent US sanctions on Venezuela.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned Evrofinance Mosnarbank – based in Moscow and jointly owned by Russia and Venezuela state-owned companies – as per an official Treasury press release.

The US Treasury has continued to impose sanctions against the “illegitimate regime of former President Maduro”.

Back in 2018, President Maduro launched the ‘Petro’ – a national cryptocurrency. The Petro is allegedly backed by Venezuelan oil. However, reports in the past have suggested the Petro is a means of circumventing US sanctions.

Allegedly, the Russian financial institution has “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA)”.

The US Treasury believes it is an entity “that has long been a vehicle for corruption, embezzlement, and money laundering by Maduro and his cronies”.

Reportedly, Evrofinance was founded as a bi-national bank to fund joint Russia-Venezuela oil and infrastructure projects.

President Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, allegedly bought a 49% stake in Evrofinance through the Venezuelan National Development Fund.

Alongside this, the US Treasury claims that Russia’s Gazprombank and Russian state bank VTB Bank both own a 25% stake in Evrofinance.

The US Treasury notes how major US and European-based financial businesses have cut ties with the illegitimate Maduro regime “because of the significant risks inherent in dealing with Venezuela”.

It also claims that Evrofinance assets “have soared and the bank continues to maintain its significant relationship with the illegitimate regime”.

Evrofinance “emerged as the primary international financial institution willing to finance the Petro” when it launched, according to the US Treasury.

Reportedly, early investors were invited to buy the crypto by wiring funds to a Venezuelan government account at Evrofinance.

“Evrofinance’s involvement in the Petro demonstrated Maduro’s hope that the Petro would allow Venezuela to circumvent US financial sanctions,” claims the Treasury.

Interested in reading more about Venezuela and cryptocurrency? Discover more about Venezuela’s hyperinflation and whether Bitcoin could save the country from a complete economic crash.

 

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