The Treasury Department of the United States, announced this Thursday, July 23, that two Venezuelan brothers, Santiago and Ricardo Morón, are sanctioned for dealing in Venezuelan gold in favor of Nicolás Maduro Guerra, the son of the governor Nicolás Maduro, previously got sanctioned in 2017.
The brothers are “trusted partners” of Maduro Guerra, (sanctioned in 2019) supporting “corrupt activities” of the “illegitimate regime” of Venezuela, including the mining of gold and its sale abroad.
“Maduro Guerra, Santiago, Ricardo, and their closest allies are central figures in the Venezuelan gold industry,” Treasury stated in a web posting.
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“While the Venezuelan people are suffering, the Maduro illegitimate regime is concentrating on its efforts to retain power. The United States is committed to pursuing individuals who facilitate or allow this regime to continue to ignore the well-being of the Venezuelan people,” said Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, in the statement.
The Morón brothers have dedicated to distributing the assets of Maduro and his family around the world, acting as frontmen for his businesses, the Treasury said.
Besides, the Department also got the Central Bank of Venezuela -also a sanctioned entity- involved in their activities, Treasury says. “Maduro Guerra is accused of conducting illicit transactions, including the sale of gold mined in Venezuela and dispatched from the Central Bank of Venezuela. Santiago and Ricardo oversee the financial mechanism of the illicit gold scheme”.
Santiago “gets sanctioned for having assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Maduro Guerra”, according to Treasury.
Meanwhile, Ricardo gets sanctioned “for having assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Venezuela.”
The sanctions also include blocking all property and interests of those individuals in the United States.
.Also, any entities owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated individuals, are blocked. The OFAC regulations generally prohibit all dealings by the US persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons, Treasury warns.
There is more
On Wednesday, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced a reward of $5 million for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the president of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) of Venezuela, Maikel Moreno, considered close to Maduro.
In a statement, Pompeo accused Moreno and his wife of being involved in a corruption scheme, and assured that he “had received bribes to influence the outcome of criminal and civil cases in Venezuela.”