March 6, 2019 / 9:23 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. set to punish foreign banks who deal with Venezuela's Maduro - official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has identified efforts by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to work with foreign banks to move and hide money and is ready to punish the banks with sanctions in the near future, a senior U.S. administration official said on Wednesday.

The United States moved to aggressively cut off Maduro and his associates from oil and other revenues with sanctions after recognising opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state in January.

The White House said earlier on Wednesday that banks would face sanctions for “illegitimate transactions” that helped Maduro and his network.

The warning was prompted by efforts by Maduro, his officials, their family members, and state-owned entities to find ways to keep revenues flowing, the official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“They’re trying to move their money and hide that money in different places. Some banks - some foreign banks in particular - are being complicit in this behaviour,” the official said in an interview, declining to provide further details.

The U.S. government was getting ready to name and impose sanctions on banks that have ignored warnings, the official said.

“You’ll definitely see some named in the near future,” the official said. “We will be sanctioning some in the days and weeks to come.”

Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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