Sanctions Force Venezuela’s PDVSA To Shift To Russian Bank

Recent sanctions by United States President Donald Trump are causing Venezuela’s state-run oil company to make changes to its banking practices.

According to Reuters, Petróleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, is telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit proceeds in a new bank account opened at a Russian bank, Gazprombank.

Gazprombank said that PDVSA opened accounts years ago, but does not have new accounts with the bank, reports Reuters.

“We stress that no new accounts have been opened and the bank does not plan to open any new accounts,” Gazprombank said.

On January 28, the Trump administration recognized Juan Guaidó, the leader of the National Assembly, as the interim president of Venezuela.

Many European countries also recognized Guaidó as the legitimate head of state of Venezuela after Nicolás Maduro refused to hold free and fair presidential elections.

Venezuela has some of the largest oil reserves in the world. PDVSA has joint ventures with several foreign companies, including Norway’s Equinor ASA, US-based Chevron, and France’s Total SA.

PDVSA’s finance vice president, Fernando De Quintal, sent a letter to the unit that supervises joint ventures regarding banking changes.

“We would like to make formal your knowledge of new banking instructions to make payments in U.S. dollars or euros,” Quintal wrote in the letter dated February 8.

US companies working in Venezuela must halt operations before a deadline under the Trump administration’s new sanctions.

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