US officials say Erik Prince may have violated Venezuela sanctions: report

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Erik Prince

Blackwater founder Erik Prince may have evaded U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, two senior U.S. officials reportedly said Monday.

The unnamed officials told The Associated Press that Prince, the brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, had been referred to the Treasury Department over a meeting in Caracas, Venezuela, with the country’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, a sanctioned ally of President Nicolás Maduro.

An attorney for Prince told the news outlet that his client’s meeting was not business-related and that no violation had occurred.

“Before traveling to Venezuela as a private citizen, Erik Prince received clear legal guidance, which he scrupulously followed,” his attorney said. “There is nothing unlawful about simply visiting Venezuela and participating in non-business discussions, which is all that Mr. Prince did. We would be better served by focusing on measures that might actually restore peace and prosperity to Venezuela rather than worrying about who paid a visit to whom.”

A source familiar with Prince’s trip added to the AP that Prince had notified the National Security Council and Treasury Department of his visit and heard no objections.

Officials with the Treasury Department’s sanctions enforcement division did not respond to the AP’s requests for comment.


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