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U.S. Targets Venezuelan Oil and Defense Sectors

The U.S. Treasury Department ("Treasury") Office Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") sanctioned two companies involved in the shipment of Venezuelan oil to Cuba. Pursuant to Executive Order 13850, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that individuals and entities involved in the defense and security sector of the Venezuelan economy may be subject to U.S. sanctions.

In connection with the oil shipment-related sanctions imposed on Monsoon Navigation Corporation and Serenity Maritime Limited, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that the United States would "take further action if Cuba continues to receive Venezuelan oil in exchange for military support." He stated further that "the path to sanctions relief for those who have been sanctioned is to take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order."

As a result of the action, all property and interests in property of the sanctioned companies - including the two vessels identified by OFAC - that are in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked. In addition, OFAC regulations generally prohibit any dealings by U.S. persons (or persons transiting U.S. jurisdiction) that involve the property or interests in property of sanctioned persons.

With respect to the expansion of U.S. sanctions authorities under Executive Order 13850, Mr. Mnuchin warned those operating in the defense and security sector, as well as those who support them, that they are "on notice that their continued backing of the illegitimate Maduro regime will be met with serious consequences."

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