US imposes sanctions on Venezuelan officials

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Washington, March 20 (IANS) The US Treasury slapped sanctions on Monday on four current and former senior Venezuelan officials, accusing them of alleged economic mismanagement and corruption.

The designated individuals include a director of the country’s National Bank of Housing and Habitat, the head of the body that oversees price controls in Venezuela, the head of the National Treasury of Venezuela, and the former President of the Board of Directors of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security.

As a result of the punishment, all assets of the designated persons that are subject to US jurisdiction are frozen and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them, reports Xinhua.

The Treasury’s announcement followed an executive order from US President Donald Trump earlier in the day prohibiting US transactions with Venezuela’s digital currency, a move to further block the South American country’s access to US financial market.

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Trump said in the executive order that the new move was to counter the latest attempt from the Maduro administration “to circumvent US sanctions.”

In late February, Venezuela launched the pre-sale of its own cryptocurrency, a type of digital or virtual currency, backed by its crude oil reserves, as a new financing option against financial sanctions imposed by Washington, which forbid US businesses from lending to the Venezuelan government or the state-run oil and gas company PDVSA.

The US Treasury Department said earlier that the digital currency could violate the sanctions against Venezuela, warning investors who acquire it of legal consequences.

–IANS

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