WASHINGTON DC - The U.S. treasury has imposed sanctions on the government-owned and controlled Venzuelan bank, Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social de Venezuela, or BANDES, as well as four additional financial institutions that BANDES owns or controls.
"The willingness of Maduro's inner-circle to exploit Venezuela's institutions knows no bounds. Regime insiders have transformed BANDES and its subsidiaries into vehicles to move funds abroad in an attempt to prop up Maduro. Maduro and his enablers have distorted the original purpose of the bank, which was founded to help the economic and social well-being of the Venezuelan people, as part of a desperate attempt to hold onto power," Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Friday.
"The regime's continued use of kidnapping, torture, and murder of Venezuelan citizens will not be tolerated by the U.S. or the international coalition that is united behind President Guaido. Roberto Marrero and other political prisoners must be released immediately."
Friday's action sanctioning BANDES and its subsidiaries follows a determination by Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that persons operating in Venezuela's financial sector may be subject to sanctions. The sanctions prohibit transactions between U.S. nationals or entities and the sanctioned parties, and prohibit U.S. interests from doing business with the sanctioned parties.
"BANDES bank is to Venezuela's financial sector what PDVSA is to its oil sector. This action will severely affect any attempted currency movements by Maduro and his cronies moving forward," U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton posted on Twitter.
BANDES is based in Venezuela, and is a state-owned and controlled bank. As Venezuela's national development bank, BANDES was created in order to promote the economic development and sustained growth of Venezuela, to include providing services such as monetary intermediation, credit, and security and commodity contracts brokerage services, among other financial and trust activities. Simon Alejandro Zerpa Delgado is the Chief Executive and President of the Board of the bank.
The four subsidiaries impacted by Friday's decision are:
Banco Bandes Uruguay S.A. which is based in Uruguay. (In early 2019 Maduro tried to move over one billion dollars out of Venezuela via BANDES to its subsidiary in Uruguay, Banco Bandes Uruguay S.A., the treasury department said in a statement).
Banco Bicentenario del Pueblo, de la Clase Obrera, Mujer y Comunias, Banco Universal C.A., which is based in Venezuela.
Banco de Venezuela, S.A. Banco Universal, which is based in Venezuela.
Banco Prodem S.A., which is based in Bolivia.