One US sanctions door closes, another opens

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated Venezuela’s Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) under Executive Order 13850 for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, in consultation with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, said that that persons operating in Venezuela’s oil sector are subject to sanctions pursuant to EO 13850.

The President has also signed an Executive Order “Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Venezuela.” OFAC will publish shortly a frequently asked question in connection with the issuance of the Executive Order.

The sanctions against Venezuela, termed by some as “Iran 2.0”, came the day after OFAC lifted US Sanctions relating to Russian companies EN+, Rusal and ESE.

OFAC had previously given repeated extensions of time to companies to wind down their operations and contracts with En+ Group PLC (EN+), UC Rusal PLC (Rusal), JSC EuroSibEnergo (ESE) and GAZ Group

As of January 27th OFAC lifted the sanctions imposed on EN+, Rusal and ESE. However, no mention was by OFAC of GAZ Group, which appears to remain a sanctioned entity, at least for the moment.

The three now un-sanctioned companies had been connected to Oleg Deripaska, but he has been divorcing himself from all three – hence the repeated extensions by OFAC.