Yet another associate of Venezuelan former President Nicolas Maduro faces sanctions from the United States federal government after five officials with relationships with the ousted leader were designated earlier this month.
On February 15, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the men, who are still in positions of government authority in Venezuela, have continued unabated to hinder democracy in the country while carrying out fraud and corruption on a massive scale.
The now-designated group includes the commander of the Presidential Honor Guard, the Director General of the Venezuelan National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), the First Commissioner of SEBIN, the Commander of the Special Actions Force (FAES), and the President of PdVSA, a state-owned oil company.
According to investigators, the men have variously engaged in a wide range of abuses. One is accused of torturing family members of those suspected of disloyalty by beatings, asphyxiation, slicing the soles of individuals’ feet with razors, electric shock, and death threats. Another is alleged to be behind several nocturnal raids in the country of opposition members’ homes, kidnapping of opposition members, and extrajudicial killings.
In addition to physical brutality, the individuals designated in this action are alleged to have conducted corruption on a massive scale. The U.S. says PdVSA has long been a vector for corruption, often used as a cover for embezzling and money laundering by a long list of officials, including those named here.
As with all such designations, the individuals against whom sanctions were levied earlier this month are legally barred from exercising rights in property they own that lies within the jurisdiction of the United States, and Americans are forbidden from knowingly doing business with them.
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