On January 19, 2021, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned and placed on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List three individuals, fourteen entities, and six vessels for their involvement in a network attempting to evade U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector.  According to a press release, the “illegitimate Maduro regime has continued to use Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) as its primary conduit for corruption to exploit and profit from Venezuela’s natural resources.”  This action continues OFAC’s efforts to block entities and vessel operating in Venezuela’s oil and shipping sectors (see Update of June 19, 2020).

The persons designated include Alessandro Bazzoni, Francisco Javier D’Agostino Casado, and Philipp Paul Vartan Apikian for coordinating and facilitating the illicit sale of PdVSA oil through entities such as Elemento Ltd. (Malta) and Swissoil Trading SA (Geneva).  In addition to Elemento and Swissoil Trading, nine other entities related to Messrs. Bazzoni, Casado and Elemento Ltd. have been placed on the SDN List, as well as three shipping companies and six vessels for engaging in the carriage of Venezuelan oil and facilitating continued sanctions evasion and related activities for PdVSA and the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.  For additional details on all of the sanctioned persons, entities and vessels, click here.

As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of these individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated individuals and entities, are also blocked.