US takes aim at Venezuela oil exports to Asia in Trump sanctions parting shot

The Trump administration used its final days in office to introduce a slew of new sanctions on a network accused of brokering the sale of prohibited Venezuelan crude oil to buyers in Asia. Three individuals, 14 entities and six vessels were added to the list of sanctioned entities maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a formidable authority that sits within the US Department of the Treasury. The Treasury alleges that all of these players have ties to a vast Mexico-based network, which the US claims has been helping Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro government bypass stringent sanctions placed on its state-owned fuel company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), since 2019. According to the US, the South American country has continued to sell “hundreds of millions of dollars” of PdVSA crude globally through the scheme. “Those facilitating the illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to circumvent United States sanctions contribute to the corruption that consumes Venezuela,” said then Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin last week, prior to President Joe Biden taking the oath of office. According to the US Treasury, the “principal actors” designated in last week’s announcement include two middlemen who co-ordinated the purchase and sale of Venezuelan crude: Alessandro Bazzoni and Francisco… continue reading

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