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US says it sanctions Venezuelans in currency scheme

Key Points
  • The United States imposed sanctions on Tuesday that target a Venezuelan currency exchange network scheme that siphoned billions of dollars to corrupt insiders of the Venezuelan government, the U.S. Treasury Department said.
  • "Venezuelan regime insiders have plundered billions of dollars from Venezuela while the Venezuelan people suffer," Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
  • The U.S. Treasury statement cited 23 groups as being part of the scheme.
Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, January 11, 2018.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

The United States imposed sanctions on Tuesday that target a Venezuelan currency exchange network scheme that siphoned billions of dollars to corrupt insiders of the Venezuelan government, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

It said the seven individuals targeted by the move include a former Venezuelan treasurer, Claudia Patricia Diaz Guillen, and Raul Antonio Gorrin Belisario, who bribed the Venezuelan Treasury in order to conduct illegal foreign exchange operations.

"Venezuelan regime insiders have plundered billions of dollars from Venezuela while the Venezuelan people suffer. Treasury is targeting this currency exchange network which was another illicit scheme that the Venezuelan regime had long used to steal from its people, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The U.S. Treasury said the former Venezuelan officials and other individuals used favorable foreign exchange transactions through brokerage firms controlled by Gorrin and among a few that were approved by the South American country's treasury. The individuals concealed their profits in U.S. and European bank accounts and investments, it said.

The U.S. Treasury statement cited 23 groups as being part of the scheme, including Globovision Tele in Caracas and Miami, Magus Holdings in Miami, Tindaya Properties in New York, Planet 2 Reaching Inc and Posh 8 Dynamic Inc, both of Delaware.

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Key Points
  • The Treasury Department on Thursday announced new sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian entities and several individuals, all connected to Russia's continuing occupation of Crimea, which the United States considers to be illegal.
  • The announcement came just days before President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are both scheduled to attend events in Paris, France on Sunday to commemorate the end of the First World War.
  • While Trump and Putin are in Paris, Russia is scheduled to hold elections in the two regions of Crimea that it annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The U.S. State Department has called the elections "phony."