OUTWITTING U.S SANCTIONS: Venezuelans transfer $337 million to banks in Russia

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MOSCOW – Venezuelan companies and citizens have brilliantly outwitted U.S sanctions and have transferred $337 million (R $1.33 billion) to Russian credit institutions, according to data from the Central Bank of Russia.

In the period between October and December 2018, deposits of Venezuelan clients in Russian banks increased 20%, from $826 million to $1.16 billion, reported the Central Bank of Russia.

According to experts interviewed by the Russian RBC agency, such a financial flow to Russian banks may be related to the need to transfer money from US banks because of the threat of sanctions.

“Most likely, fearing the introduction of international sanctions and locking of bank accounts and assets, the largest Venezuelan companies sought to transfer most of the free money to banks in friendly countries, especially in Russia,” suggests the director of the Russian agency Credit Rating National, Mikhail Doronkin.

President of the United States, Donald Trump, has increased sanctions against Venezuela after the elections. The main objective of the new restrictions is to make it difficult for Caracas to sell state assets. In addition, Americans are prohibited from buying Venezuelan Treasury bonds.

In April, Washington imposed sanctions on two companies that supply Venezuelan oil to Cuba and increased restrictions against the Central Bank of Venezuela.

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US President Donald Trump has pressured Cuba to end its support for Venezuela on Tuesday, warning it would otherwise face a “complete” embargo and sanctions.

“If Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela, a full and complete embargo, together with highest-level sanctions, will be placed on the island of Cuba. Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island!” he said on Twitter.

This was not the only mention of the Cuban government by Washington. In an interview with CNN, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was prepared to leave the country on Tuesday morning.

According to Pompeo, in the face of opposition leader Juan Guaido’s appeal and the ensuing protests in the Caribbean country, Maduro considered fleeing to Havana, but reversed his plan after Russia intervened.

Neither Russia nor Cuba still spoke about Pompeo’s claims.

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