The US administration has added 10 more individuals and 13 legal entities to its sanctions list for Venezuela. This was reported on Thursday by the US Treasury Department.
According to his information, citizens of Venezuela and Colombia, as well as companies based in the United States, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Panama, Mexico and Turkey, were blacklisted.
According to the testimony of the US Treasury, the new solution applies to the three stepsons of the President of Venezuela Nicholas Maduro – Walter Jacob, Josual and Yosser. They and the Colombian citizen Alex Nain Saab Moran are accused by the American authorities of organizing an illegal enrichment scheme through the fraudulent use of the food distribution system in Venezuela. According to the American Ministry of Finance, this scheme allowed the aforementioned citizen of Colombia to launder “hundreds of millions of dollars” through the same 13 companies, for which restrictive measures were also introduced. The US government has revealed the “extensive corruption network,” which allowed Nicholas Maduro and his “regime to extract significant benefits from the import and distribution of food in Venezuela,” the Finance Ministry said.
From the point of view of US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, Alex Nain Saab Moran interacted with Maduro’s environment in order to use a “large-scale corruption network” that allowed them to profit from the “starving population of Venezuela”. This scheme gave Nicholas Maduro and his family members the opportunity to “steal from the people of Venezuela,” Mnucin believes. In his opinion, Maduro and his entourage turned the food distribution system in Venezuela into a tool of “social control”, allowing “to reward political supporters and punish opponents, while appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars.”
In accordance with data from the US Treasury Department, Alex Naine Saab Moran has been in contact with corrupt officials in Venezuela since 2009, using bribes and kickbacks to sign government contracts, the prices of which he artificially inflates. According to the American side, three adoptive sons of Maduro received money from this Colombian citizen “in exchange for providing access” to such contracts.
On January 23, Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, whose appointment as parliamentary speaker two days earlier had the Supreme Court annulled, declared himself acting president. The United States recognized him as interim head of state, the countries of the Lima Group (with the exception of Mexico), the Organization of American States and most of the EU countries joined them. Maduro called the incident an attempted coup and announced the severance of diplomatic relations with the United States. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey expressed their support for it.