19:20 GMT05 June 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States has imposed sanctions on Russia’s Rosneft Trading S.A. and its head Didier Casimiro over their collaboration with Venezuela, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced in a notice on its website on Tuesday.

    "The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated Rosneft Trading S.A. ... for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy," the Treasury said in a statement. "OFAC also designated the chairman of the board of directors and president of Rosneft Trading S.A., Didier Casimiro."

    The United States accuses Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-based subsidiary of Russia’s oil giant Rosneft, of handling Venezuela’s oil exports in circumvention of American sanctions and the company’s president of being "the main European intermediary to help Maduro skirt sanctions."

    "The overwhelming amount of the Maduro regime’s oil that has been skirting sanctions and has been traded around the world has been done through Rosneft Trading," a senior US administration official told reporters.

    The Treasury said in the statement that in January, Rosneft Trading S.A. facilitated a shipment of two million barrels of Merey-16 crude oil from Venezuela to West Africa. It added that in September, Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) supplied a shipment of one million barrels of Merey-16 to Rosneft Trading, which was destined for Asia.

    All property of Rosneft Trading S.A. and its head Casimiro have been blocked in the United States, the statement said.

    The US has also issued a general license giving the companies doing business with Russia's Rosneft Trading S.A. 90 days to disentangle their arrangements, a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday.

    "OFAC is also issuing a short-term general license today that authorizes USA persons to engage only in certain wind-down prohibited activities that are necessary to disentangle transactions involving Rosneft Trading," the official said, referring to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

    The official said the license was issued with a view toward maintaining the strength of the US dollar globally and to allow time for allies such as Germany to "disentangle arrangements with this entity."

    In early November, the Trump administration pledged to impose "impactful" measures on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro within the next 30 days.

    Following the announcement, Rosneft stocks fell by over 5.2 percent.

    As of 6.32 p.m. Moscow time (15:32 GMT), Rosneft's stocks are falling by 1.75 percent to 456.55 rubles ($7.14), while they have been previously decreasing by 5.2 percent to 440.7 rubles, while the Moscow Exchange index is seeing a 1.07 percent decline.

    Tags:
    Russia, Venezuela, US Treasury Department, Rosneft, sanctions, U.S
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