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Goldman Sachs reportedly sold some of the Venezuelan bonds that caused an outcry last month

  • Goldman Sachs has sold at least $300 million of Venezuelan state oil company bonds, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The May purchase attracted criticism from Venezuela's opposition leader.
  • Julio Borges accused Goldman of "making a quick buck off the suffering Venezuelan people" by helping to prop up the regime of Nicolas Maduro.

Goldman Sachs has reportedly sold off a large chunk of the Venezuelan state oil company bonds it acquired in a controversial purchase in May.

Goldman's asset management arm sold at least $300 million of the bonds to a hedge fund, sources told The Wall Street Journal. The sources say Goldman sold the bonds at a slight premium to the May purchase price.

Goldman bought $2.8 billion worth of the bonds in Venezuelan oil company PDVSA at 31 cents on the dollar, CNBC reported in May. The firm sold some of the investment to facilitate more trading in the bonds and therefore increase prices in the rest of its position, the Journal reported on Friday.

The leader of Venezuela's National Assembly, Julio Borges, criticized Goldman after it bought the distressed debt and suggested that a future government might not honor the bonds. He accused the bank of "making a quick buck off the suffering Venezuelan people" by helping to prop up the regime of Nicolas Maduro.

A man walks in front of a graffiti that reads "Chavismo means starvation" in Caracas, Venezuela April 10, 2017.
Christian Veron | Reuters
A man walks in front of a graffiti that reads "Chavismo means starvation" in Caracas, Venezuela April 10, 2017.

Venezuela is mired in a financial crisis following the collapse of oil prices in 2014. It is suffering from chronic food shortages and has been rocked by violent street protests. The Venezuelan opposition is trying to hasten Maduro's end by starving the government of financing and making his rule untenable.

Goldman purchased the bonds "on the secondary market from a broker and did not interact with the Venezuelan government," it said in a statement when it purchased the bonds, adding, "We recognize that … Venezuela is in crisis. We agree that life there has to get better, and we made the investment in part because we believe it will."

Goldman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

Read the full Wall Street Journal piece here.