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U.S. Sanctions Oil Traders As Venezuelan Oil Exports Continue

The U.S. Treasury Department has added names to their blacklist for trading in illegal Venezuelan oil, according to a Tuesday press release.

 Making the list today include Alessandro Bazzoni, Francisco Javier D’Agostino Casado, Philipp Paul Vartan Apikian, Elemento Ltd, and Swissoil Trading SA.

“Those facilitating the illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to circumvent United States sanctions contribute to the corruption that consumes Venezuela,” Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said. “The United States remains committed to targeting those enabling the Maduro regime’s abuse of Venezuela’s natural resources.”

Malta-based Elemento made the list for lifting and brokering the sale of at least five shipments of Venezuelan crude oil between July 2019 and July 2020.

Geneva-based Swissoil made the list after it assisted with the selling and shipping of Venezuelan oil to buyers in Asia, acting sometimes as the entity financially responsible for the receipt of the oil shipments brokered by Elemento. Swissoil also received some of the Venezuelan oil.

The U.S. also added maritime entities and vessels for their role in the transportation of Venezuelan crude oil, including Ukrainian Fides Ship Management LLC, Venezuela-based Instituto Nacional de los Espacios Acuaticos e Insulares (INEA), and Russia-based Rustanker LLC.

INEA is the registered owner of the Russian-flagged oil tanker Maksim Gorky.

All entities that made the list today will have their property and interests in property blocked, including any entities that are owned 50% or more by anyone on this list. Any U.S. persons are barred from doing business with any entity on this list.

The Trump administration has tried to bring Venezuela’s crude oil exports to zero in an attempt to force socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to step down after a contested election. More than 50 countries recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the rightful President of Venezuela, but Maduro is still clinging to power amid the worst humanitarian crisis outside of war in decades.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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