U.S. blacklists Rosneft unit to choke off funds for Maduro government in Venezuela

U.S. blacklists Rosneft unit to choke off funds for Maduro government in Venezuela
  • Clock-gray 21:27
  • calendar-gray 18 February 2020

The United States on Tuesday tightened financial restrictions on Venezuela, blacklisting a subsidiary of Russian state oil major Rosneft that President Donald Trump’s administration has said provides a lifeline to President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury Department increase the pressure on Russia, which the United States sees as the main backer of Maduro’s government. The Trump administration has accused the subsidiary, Rosneft Trading SA, of propping up the Venezuelan oil sector and actively evading American sanctions. 

The United States also issued a general license allowing companies 90 days to wind down their transactions with the company, according to a notice on the Treasury Department’s website. 

The action freezes any U.S.-held assets of the Geneva-based trading unit of the Russian oil giant and its chairman of the board of directors and president, Didier Casimiro. 

The United States last year recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the OPEC nation’s legitimate interim president and began ratcheting up sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Maduro’s government. 

A year later, Maduro remains in power, backed by the military as well as Russia, China and Cuba. His staying power has been a source of frustration for Trump, U.S. officials have said privately.

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