U.S. Treasury Department Places New Sanctions on Venezuela State-Owned Oil Industry PDVSA…

Keep in mind that China has loaned Venezuela over $50 billion in the past five years. In exchange, Venezuela gave China a 49% stake in PDVSA. Venezuela makes payments on the loans via oil shipments to China.

(VIA U.S. Treasury Dept) Today the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850 for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. PdVSA is a Venezuelan state-owned oil company and a primary source of Venezuela’s income and foreign currency, to include U.S. dollars and Euros.

“The United States is holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline, and will continue to use the full suite of its diplomatic and economic tools to support Interim President Juan Guaidó, the National Assembly, and the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore their democracy,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.

“Today’s designation of PdVSA will help prevent further diverting of Venezuela’s assets by Maduro and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela. The path to sanctions relief for PdVSA is through the expeditious transfer of control to the Interim President or a subsequent, democratically elected government.”

As with previous OFAC designations of certain Venezuelan officials and their supporters, U.S. sanctions need not be permanent. Sanctions are intended to change behavior. The United States has made it clear that we will consider lifting sanctions for those who take concrete, meaningful, and verifiable actions to support democratic order and combat corruption in Venezuela, including PdVSA.

As Venezuela’s state owned oil company, PdVSA has long been a vehicle for corruption. A variety of schemes have been designed to embezzle billions of dollars from PdVSA for the personal gain of corrupt Venezuelan officials and businessmen. For example, a 2014 currency exchange scheme was designed to embezzle and launder around $600 million from PdVSA, money obtained through bribery and fraud. By May 2015, the conspiracy had allegedly doubled in amount, to $1.2 billion embezzled from PdVSA.

Abraham Edgardo Ortega, a Venezuelan national who was PdVSA’s executive director of financial planning, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in the billion-dollar international scheme to launder funds embezzled from PdVSA.

In a separate case, U.S. prosecutors have alleged that, from 2011 to 2013, senior Government of Venezuela and PdVSA officials, including Nervis Villalobos, the former Venezuelan vice minister of energy; Rafael Reiter, who worked as PdVSA’s head of security and loss prevention; and Luis Carlos de Leon, a former official at a state-run electric company, sought bribes and kickbacks from vendors in exchange for helping them secure PdVSA contracts and gain priority over other vendors for outstanding invoices during its liquidity crisis.

Today’s action designating PdVSA follows a determination by Secretary Mnuchin pursuant to E.O. 13850 that persons operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy may be subject to sanctions.

Concurrent with this action, OFAC is issuing general licenses that authorize certain transactions and activities related to PdVSA and its subsidiaries within specified timeframes.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of PdVSA subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. (link)

8:15 p.m. – AP – The Mexican government says it disagrees with a map displayed by the White House that shows Mexico among those countries that support Venezuela’s embattled president, Nicolas Maduro.

National security adviser John Bolton held a press briefing Monday with a map that showed in red the countries supporting Maduro and in blue those nations supporting the Venezuelan congress leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself Venezuela’s interim president.

Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. told reporters in Washington that her government isn’t taking sides in the crisis.

In Ambassador Martha Barcena’s words: “We are not against the U.S. regarding the position on Venezuela. We are not siding with Maduro. We are not siding with Guaido. We think a third way of a peaceful solution can be found.”  (read more)

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48 Responses to U.S. Treasury Department Places New Sanctions on Venezuela State-Owned Oil Industry PDVSA…

  1. Doug says:

    As Milton Friedman once said, “and where are we to find these angels?”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Publius2016 says:

    no bullets…just leave Maduro…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sherri Young says:

    So does this mean that the Citgo refineries in the US will be idled? The one in Corpus Christi is already offline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cripto says:

      SD is incorrect above as it is Russia that has the 49+% stake.
      “Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has owned Citgo since the 1980s. In exchange for a loan from Rosneft in December, Venezuela’s oil company put up a large stake (49.9%) in Citgo as collateral.
      If PDVSA can’t pay its bills on time, Rosneft will almost certainly get control of Citgo. All Rosneft would need to do is buy a few more of PDVSA’s bonds to get over the 50% ownership threshold.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sentient says:

    Why is this our business? Having Elliott Abrams involved is disconcerting. Didn’t we try to do the exact same thing in Venezuela when W was in office? Why will this work out any better?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Publius2016 says:

      Monroe Doctrine! MAGA!! no China or Russia in Western Hemisphere…

      Liked by 6 people

      • Ausonius says:

        Booting Communism and Russians and the Chinese and the Iranians out of Cuba is long overdue!

        e.g.

        The Obama administration thinks Iran’s influence in Latin America is waning. That means it does not view the 80 or so cultural centers Iran has established across Central and South America as a threat.

        Tehran begs to differ. It views these centers as a vehicle for the spread of its revolutionary ideology to America’s backyard. Iran’s official state visits, diplomatic agreements, commercial relations and volume of trade with the region do not come out to much. Far more important to the ayatollahs are the thousands of Latin American converts who, thanks to the centers’ missionary work, flock to the regime-run Al Mostafa International University in Qom each year for indoctrination.

        Cuba is the most recent and unlikely addition to Iran’s growing network of missionary centers. In the last three years, Iran has established a Shiite cultural center and a mosque in Havana that is actively recruiting and converting Cubans. Many of its converts have already travelled to Iran, including one who is training as the first Cuban-born Shiite cleric.

        https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/international/302418-cuba-irans-island-in-the-sun

        Liked by 8 people

      • WSB says:

        How does that square with the Chinese invasion into the US?

        Liked by 1 person

    • A Belle says:

      This is as much about squeezing the Chicoms and Russians as it is about helping the folks in Venezuela.

      The Chicoms are using a third party, the Nork’s, as a lever against us. Trump uses leverage when he has it where he sees it.

      Like

  5. cripto says:

    The map looks exactly like the one Strategic Sentinel has been posting since the crisis started.
    😀

    Interim President Guaido is naming new PDVSA board members and orders gov. bank accounts
    be put under control of the Legitimate Government.

    Bolton’s notepad clearly on display is to figuratively ‘kill the chickens to scare the monkeys’.

    Oh, and Huawei is going down.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. cripto says:

    Going after PVSDA is also important as Maduro has given shares to the military commanders to bind their loyalty.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. cripto says:

    Everyone should read the Justice Dept indictment of Huawei, not just the brief reports in the press. It will show you how corrupt and dangerous this CCP outfit is, even going bonuses for employes to break the law. Meng will be extradited tomorrow. Just in time for Liu He and Co. arriving in D.C. for trade talks.

    DJT#winning

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1124996/download

    Liked by 6 people

  8. frances says:

    Yet Trump promised no new wars. I will no longer support him, this blatant coup against a democratically elected President is unacceptable

    Like

  9. Petrel says:

    Have to wonder about the comprehension of some CTH posters who suggest the US economy is anything other than mutually reinforcing cartels — of eggs, lemons, flowers, butter, beef, pork, print and electronic media, cereal grains etc etc all the way to OIL.

    Per Sundance, we are paying 25% or more than we should for most everything. This is why the Business Roundtable, the US Chamber of Commerce and other special interests build an average Congressman’s capital portfolio by over $1,000,000 per year — not to mention larger sums for the smaller club of Senators, who universally oppose most of President Trump’s preferred nominees and have successfully stymied his ability to oversee most government departments and offices.

    We come to the current Venezuela crisis. Who really believes that Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Bolton can’t sleep at night worrying about the distribution of Venezuela’s OIL revenues to deserving barrio dwellers?

    I will begin to believe such Swamp Dwellers when they openly discuss reform of and, possibly, sanction the cartels which govern our national economy.

    Like

    • yucki says:

      What’s your point?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dennis Leonard says:

        He does not have one,just likes to type gibberish.

        Liked by 2 people

      • His point? To lecture us on how dumb we are and how smart he is?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Daniel says:

          I think he’s talking about the real reform necessary to remove the reason we pay 25% more than we should. That said, I think he has a problem with the necessary sequence of events. First we ensure the US economy is so strong, these sorts of changes or corrections will not cause larger problems with MAGA. Then go after the more local corruption. I suspect that will be in the second quarter or second half of the second term of the Trump administration.

          Like

          • pyromancer76 says:

            I think Petrel is also concerned about our also need for American corporations — American business men and women especially in the agricultural area — rather than multinational corporations who want to end American sovereignty. I could be wrong, though.

            Like

    • JackB says:

      Yes. Jonathan Tepper has a book out that shows from sector to sector how competition has gone as our government under both parties have enabled market concentration and oligopolies. Take for example media. There were 50 media companies in 1980. Now 5 control the majority of media markets. That’s why we get Fake News and Deep State propaganda.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mo says:

    Read this fellows book and You will be better informed of the threat posed by Iranian narco-terrorism from Maduro’s Venezuela.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. cripto says:

    SupChina has a four part series on the relationship between Venezuela and China. I’ve mentioned some of this before particularly the rise in Chinese immigration to VZ.

    Venezuela-China, Explained: How Will Venezuela’s Political Crisis Affect China?JESÚS HERMOSO AND MARÍA VICTORIA FERMÍNJANUARY 28, 20190

    Part One: China’s choice to penetrate the Latin American market
    https://supchina.com/2019/01/07/venezuela-china-explained/

    Part Two: China, Venezuela, and the New Silk Road in between
    https://supchina.com/2019/01/14/venezuela-china-explained-2/

    Part Three: The geopolitics of the dragon in Little Venice
    https://supchina.com/2019/01/21/venezuela-china-explained-3/

    Part Four: China, a long-term partner for Venezuela?
    https://supchina.com/2019/01/28/venezuela-china-explained-4/

    Like

  12. TheLastDemocrat says:

    I heard on the radio this morning: 40 Venezuela opposition people have been shot dead.

    I look at ABC news headline this morning, once I get into work:
    “700 arrested in Venezuela.” Deep in the story: “oh, yeah: and 40 Maduro opponents shot dead.”

    SMH

    Liked by 1 person

    • railer says:

      I expect Trump has a Plan B, he always seems to. Problem is, the neocons want a war as Plans A, B and all the way to Z. This would be a disaster.

      Trump will have to bring Maduro along here, and have him consent to whatever process they come up with. Only that will quiet down Maduro’s supporters. He’ll probably also have to make some guarantees to Russia and China that they’ll get back some of the money they’re owed.

      Like

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