US sanctions Venezuelan bank after Guaidó aide's arrest

The Trump administration on Friday announced new sanctions against Venezuela's national development bank after an aide to opposition leader Juan Guaidó was arrested this week.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control is imposing sanctions on the Venezuelan bank and its subsidiaries, with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNew book questions Harris's record on big banks On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive MORE saying they have become "vehicles" to "prop up" Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

"The willingness of Maduro’s inner-circle to exploit Venezuela’s institutions knows no bounds. Regime insiders have transformed BANDES and its subsidiaries into vehicles to move funds abroad in an attempt to prop up Maduro," Mnuchin said in a statement, referring to Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social de Venezuela (BANDES).

“The regime’s continued use of kidnapping, torture, and murder of Venezuelan citizens will not be tolerated by the U.S. or the international coalition that is united behind President Guaidó," Mnuchin added.

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The statement said that any property in the U.S. or owned by U.S. citizens, where BANDES or its subsidiaries have a controlling interest, is now "blocked."

The Treasury secretary reiterated that Roberto Marrero, Guaidó's chief-of-staff, and other political prisoners in Venezuela "must be released immediately.”

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Cheney calls for Turkish leader's bodyguards to be banned from re-entering US Pompeo: Trump to discuss political solution for Syria in meeting with Erdoğan MORE called for Marrero's release on Thursday after the Guaidó aide was detained by Maduro's security forces. 

Guaidó declared himself Venezuela's interim president in January, escalating a political battle with Maduro, who still claims the presidency.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE and several other world leaders have recognized Guaidó's leadership in Venezuela amid an economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.