The United States Treasury Department designated Tuesday a vast network skirting sanctions already levied against Venezuela’s oil industry, a primary revenue source for the Maduro regime.
“Today’s action targets additional orchestrators and facilitators with ties to the Mexico network who have conspired with Maduro’s oil minister, Tareck El Aissami Maddah (El Aissami), and indicted money launderer Alex Nain Saab Moran (Saab) to broker the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of Venezuelan oil,” Treasury’s press release announcing the new designations reads. (RELATED: Treasury Sanctions Russian Company And Board Member For Secretly Trading Venezuelan Crude Oil In Partnership With Maduro)
In total, the targeted network is comprised of Spanish-Venezuelan citizen Francisco Javier D’Agostino Casado, Italian national Alessandro Bazzoni, Swiss national Philipp Paul Vartan Apikian, Elemento Ltd, Swissoil Trading SA and various other entities and vessels connected to them.
“Those facilitating the illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to circumvent United States sanctions contribute to the corruption that consumes Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wrote in a statement. “The United States remains committed to targeting those enabling the Maduro regime’s abuse of Venezuela’s natural resources.”
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus also announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Venezuelan interim President Juan Guaido on Monday.
Pompeo, in a statement released Tuesday, said that “Maduro’s attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions enable him to continue his repressive practices against the Venezuelan people while pillaging Venezuela’s resources to enrich himself and his cronies.”
“The United States remains committed to promoting accountability for those involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Maduro and his corrupt network while contributing to the suffering of the Venezuelan people,” he continued. “We will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to promote the peaceful transition to a once-again free, prosperous, and stable Venezuela.”