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OFAC Designates Two Companies And 35 Ships For Transporting Crude Oil From Venezuela

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The Federal government announced sanctions last week against a pair of petroleum companies and almost three dozen vessels involved in shipping crude oil sold to support the regime of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the sanctions against the three firms it says transported crude oil to Cuba, which the Federal government says has long helped prop up the disputed president.

The two companies sanctioned by OFAC last week include a Liberian-based shipping company to whom one of the transport vessels is registered and a Greek company that operates the vessel. OFAC also identified by name a total of 34 other vessels it says were involved in transporting petroleum from Venezuela to Cuba, all of which are property of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), which was previously designated by OFAC in January.

According to OFAC, Venezuela and Cuba have long operated using a barter system in order to avoid international sanctions. In exchange for Venezuelan oil, Cuba sends political advisors, intelligence, military officials, and medical professionals for the benefit of the Maduro regime.

As a result of the designation by OFAC, the parties so designated are legally prohibited from exercising their rights in property held within the jurisdiction of the United States, and Americans are forbidden from engaging in business transactions with those parties.

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