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OFAC Sanctions Cuban Firm Allegedly Acting As Go-Between For Previously-Sanctioned Cuban Firm And Venezuela’s Petroleum Sector

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Last week the Federal government announced measures would be taken against a Cuban firm conducting business with another Cuban company already under sanction due to allegations that it attempted to circumvent those sanctions and provide support for the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) says the Cuban firm, which was designated earlier this year for allegedly operating in Venezuela’s oil sector, has been under significant pressure to continue to conduct business with the embattled government. As a result, the already-sanctioned firm sought and used a second Cuban firm as an intermediary between itself and the Venezuelan oil economy. OFAC’s sanctions last week targeted the intermediary firm for designation due to this alleged cooperation.

Per OFAC, the newly-sanctioned firm stood in for the previous firm, often by shifting employees from one firm to another. The Office describes a situation that allegedly occurred earlier this year when a North African country declined to do business with the originally-sanctioned firm. According to OFAC, that firm forwarded the North African firm to the firm sanctioned today, and the newly-sanctioned firm took on the contracts and payments initially negotiated and owed to the previous firm, passing those payments on to the first company and keeping it apprised of the business between itself and the North African firm.

Additionally, OFAC alleges that the newly-sanctioned firm onboarded several employees from the original firm shortly after the original firm came under OFAC sanction. OFAC says the newly-sanctioned firm sent an official working for both firms to negotiate a deal with a European company for the delivery of gasoline to Cuba.

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