Authors: Susannah Cogman, Partner, London; Daniel Hudson, Partner, London; Jonathan Cross, Counsel, New York; Geng Li, Associate, New York; and Christopher Milazzo, Associate, New York.
On January 28, 2019, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced the designation of Venezuelan state-owned oil producer Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”), which follows the White House’s earlier announcement recognizing Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the Interim President of Venezuela. The sanctions are significant because PdVSA has a monopoly in the Venezuelan oil sector and contributes significantly to Venezuela’s foreign trade income. Concurrent with the designation announcement, OFAC also issued a number of general licenses that authorize a range of activities involving PdVSA and its subsidiaries.
On March 19, 2018, President Trump issued an executive order that aims to curb sanctions circumvention by the Maduro regime in Venezuela through the use of digital currencies. This unprecedented executive order prohibits US persons from participating or being involved in transactions related to, provision of financing for, and any other dealings in, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018. Non-US persons are also subject to the same prohibitions for actions that are taken, in whole or in part, within the United States. Continue reading
On 13 November 2017, the EU Council unanimously voted to impose a wide range of targeted sanctions on Venezuela in response to the growing political crisis in the country. Notably, the new EU sanctions go further than current US measures against Venezuela by including an arms embargo, as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze.
Further to a similar regime being imposed on Mali in order to target those seeking to derail the 2015 peace agreement, the UK has laid the legal groundwork for financial sanctions to be imposed once relevant individuals have been identified. Please click here for our full briefing.
On Monday, 9 March 2015, President Obama signed an executive order declaring a national emergency to deal with the threat to US national security and foreign policy posed by “the Government of Venezuela’s erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of anti-government protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of significant public corruption.” Continue reading