US sanctions Russian bank for dealings with Venezuela oil company

US sanctions Russian bank for dealings with Venezuela oil company

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday announced sanctions against a Russian-based bank for evading restrictions placed on Venezuela's state-owned oil company.

Evrofinance Mosnarbank, which is co-owned by Russian and Venezuelan state companies, was sanctioned for supporting Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).

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“This action demonstrates that the United States will take action against foreign financial institutions that sustain the illegitimate Maduro regime and contribute to the economic collapse and humanitarian crisis plaguing the people of Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinLouise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg Mnuchin: US 'focused' on reaching trade deal with UK by end of year Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  MORE said in a statement.

PDVSA was sanctioned in January as part of the U.S.'s efforts to force Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro out of office. The U.S. has recognized National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as the country's interim president.

The Treasury Department says that Evrofinance helped launch PDVSA's cryptocurrency, Petro, which has been used to evade sanctions.

Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez bought a 49 percent stake in the Russian bank in 2011.

In 2018, early investors in the now-failed Petro were invited to buy the cryptocurrency by wiring funds to a Venezuelan government account at Evrofinance.

The U.S. has called on foreign governments to make sure that Maduro is not hiding financial assets, with national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonRomney: 'It's very likely I'll be in favor of witnesses' in Trump impeachment trial George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump Democrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial MORE threatening to impose sanctions on foreign banks that do business with Maduro and his government.