US Treasury Will Block $7 Billion in Assets from Venezuela’s Oil Company

The U.S. Treasury will block $7 billion in assets of Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA.

The [US] Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850 for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.

As Venezuela’s state owned oil company, PdVSA has long been a vehicle for corruption. A variety of schemes have been designed to embezzle billions of dollars from PdVSA for the personal gain of corrupt Venezuelan officials and businessmen. For example, a 2014 currency exchange scheme was designed to embezzle and launder around $600 million from PdVSA, money obtained through bribery and fraud. By May 2015, the conspiracy had allegedly doubled in amount, to $1.2 billion embezzled from PdVSA. Abraham Edgardo Ortega, a Venezuelan national who was PdVSA’s executive director of financial planning, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in the billion-dollar international scheme to launder funds embezzled from PdVSA.

The US has said that all options are on the table if the Venezuelan forces harm Venezuelan interim President Guaido, the National Assembly or US diplomats.

The US called on all allies to block Maduro from accessing and PdVSA funds.

Bank of England Blocked Maduro from Accessing $1.2 Billion in Gold

Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan regime was blocked from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth of gold out of the Bank of England.

Prediction Markets on the Maduro Question

The Predictit prediction market has the odds 1 in 3 that Maduro will still be President at the end of 2019.

Prior to Jan 21, 2019 the odds were about 66 to 80% that Maduro would still be President of Venezuela at the end of 2019.

Nextbigfuture has predicted for ten months that the deteriorating situation would lead to a coup or regime change. Nextbigfuture thought it would happen by Dec 31, 2018 but we were slightly overly optimistic in the timing.