The US Treasury has announced new sanctions against a Russian bank. The development took place on account of Evrofinance Mosnarbank’s involvement in Venezuela’s state-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro.
The Petro was set up to evade US sanctions against the country and the Maduro regime. Venezuelans and other countries have since criticised the controversial cryptocurrency for being both unconstitutional and illegal.
Earlier this week, the Treasury said its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had added the bank to its Specially Designated Nationals list. As the ‘primary funder’ of the project, it is now illegal to do business with the bank. Counted among its many transgressions was the offering of bank accounts to the Venezuelan government. These could then be used to accept initial funds for the launch of the token.
In a statement, the Treasury said the role of Evrofinance demonstrated the Venezuelan government’s plans to use Petro to evade US sanctions.
“.. Evrofinance’s involvement in the Petro demonstrated Maduro’s hope that the Petro would allow Venezuela to circumvent U.S. financial sanctions.”
Furthermore, the bank and state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela had been working together. Moreover, the firm has “long been a vehicle for corruption, embezzlement, and money laundering by Maduro and his cronies,” according to the Treasury.
US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said the US would continue to clamp down on financial institutions supporting rogue governments or attempting to evade sanctions.
“The United States will take action against foreign financial institutions that sustain the illegitimate Maduro regime and contribute to the economic collapse and humanitarian crisis plaguing the people of Venezuela.”
The bank is now on the SDN list. The Treasury has subsequently blocked all assets and interests of the entity. OFAC must now receive reports of any incidents in the United States or by U.S. persons.