05:18 GMT20 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has designated an ex-former Venezuelan judge and a governor and two other individuals in its latest round of sanctions against the Latin American nation, the Treasury Department said in a press release on Friday.

    "Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four key figures that have facilitated the illegitimate Maduro regime’s efforts to undermine the independence and democratic order of Venezuela", the release said.

    The sanctions target former magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice and now the Principal Rector and President of the National Electoral Council Indira Maira Alfonzo Izaguirre, former Venezuelan governor David Eugenio De Lima Salas, Solicitor General Reinaldo Enrique Munoz Pedroza, and National Electoral Council officials Jose Luis Gutierrez Parra.

    "Their actions are part of a broader election interference scheme to prevent free and fair parliamentary elections from taking place in December 2020 by restructuring the National Electoral Council and controlling the state’s wealth and assets for regime purposes through the Solicitor General", the release added.

    The Treasury Department said the Supreme Court of Justice ruled last April that Munoz Pedroza is the country’s Solicitor General with all functions representing Venezuela before national and international third parties concerning the country’s wealth and assets.

    "The National Assembly rejected this decision and Munoz Pedroza’s usurpation of that office, and subsequently urged foreign courts, international arbitration tribunals, and other foreign authorities not to accept the representation of Munoz Pedroza or attorneys appointed by him as representatives of the Venezuelan government", the release said.

    The Treasury Department also said the Supreme Court of Justice named in June a new National Electoral Council thereby subverting a power granted to the National Assembly under Venezuela’s Constitution.

    "Two of the new regime-aligned National Electoral Council officials are Indira Maira Alfonso Izaguirre and Jose Luis Gutierrez Parra. This move is part of the constellation of efforts Maduro has taken to ensure a parliamentary electoral farce on December 6, 2020", the release said.

    From November 2019 through January 2020, the release added, De Lima Sala was the leader of two "vote-buying" corruption schemes allegedly orchestrated on behalf of Maduro.

    "The Maduro regime, with De Lima Salas’s leadership, purportedly bought the votes of opposition deputies in the National Assembly in amounts of up to $1 million dollars", the Treasury said. "These bribes were made for the purpose of undermining the January 2020 re-election of Juan Guaidó as president of the National Assembly. The cash for the bribes allegedly was supplied by El Aissami and Saab’s Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said earlier on Wednesday the country had sent an invitation to the United Nations and the European Union to participate as observers in the elections scheduled to be held on December 6".

    The US State Department has urged its partners to reject the results of the upcoming elections in Venezuela.

    Many of the Western sanctions have targeted Venezuela’s state-run oil and gas company Petroleos de Venezuela, and its subsidiaries, in an attempt to seize its foreign assets and prevent the firm from completing transactions.

    In mid-August, Bloomberg reported that Washington was weighing up the possibility of tightening sanctions on Venezuela to cut off the possibility of the South American country conducting oil transactions through trading fuel.

    Venezuela has been suffering from a severe political crisis after Guaido proclaimed himself interim president, contesting the re-election of Maduro last year.

    The self-proclaimed interim president immediately received support on the part of the United States and European countries, which have also denounced Maduro's re-election. China, Cuba, Russia and a number of other countries have endorsed Maduro as Venezuela's only legitimate president.

    judge, US Treasury, sanctions, Venezuela, United States
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