New Venezuela Sanctions Announced; Future Sanctions Against Venezuelan Oil Threatened

Yesterday, the President issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) prohibiting certain financial transactions involving the Venezuelan government, including Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), the state-owned oil company. Under the new rules, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are prohibited from engaging in transactions related to:

(i) the purchase of any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela, including accounts receivable; (ii) any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela that is pledged as collateral after the effective date of the E.O., including accounts receivable; and (iii) the sale, transfer, assignment, or pledging as collateral by the Government of Venezuela of any equity interest in any entity in which the Government of Venezuela has a 50 percent or greater ownership interest.

The new sanctions were issued the day after President Nicolás Maduro claimed victory in his bid to win a second term in office after a seriously flawed vote.

According to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, the United States is also considering issuing new oil sanctions against Venezuela, which would be a substantial escalation in sanctions on that country.