OFAC designation of Russian bank a warning to Maduro’s supporters

Author: John Crabb | Published: 25 Mar 2019

The financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the US Treasury Department, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), has placed Russian bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank on its sanctions list for illegally supporting the regime of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

Although 49% of Evrofinance is held by the Venezuelan National Development Fund, purchased in the Chavez era, the bank remains Russian-owned in the majority. That the bank has been targeted specifically like this is being viewed as a direct warning to others to immediately stop supporting a government, and its leader, that the US considers illegitimate.

Former OFAC senior sanctions policy advisor Michael Dobson, of counsel at Morrison & Foerster, said that it was an interesting play. "On one hand it increases the pressure on Maduro and [state-owned oil firm] PDVSA, and on the other hand it is an indirect warning to the Russians to stop propping up the regime," he...