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 MnuchinMnuchin says White House, Pelosi have deal on top-line budget numbers The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Administration pushes back on quick budget deal: 'We have a way to go' 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 Robert BoltonTrump may intervene in Pentagon cloud-computing contract: report Trump agrees to let Rand Paul meet with Iran in bid to reduce tensions: report Will Iran 'break out' for a nuclear weapon, and what can Trump do? MORE threatening to impose sanctions on foreign banks that do business with Maduro and his government.