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Por:U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
19/01/2021

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated three individuals, fourteen entities, and six vessels for their ties to a network attempting to evade United States sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector. The illegitimate Maduro regime has continued to use Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) as its primary conduit for corruption to exploit and profit from Venezuela’s natural resources. Today’s action, taken pursuant to Executive Order 13850, as amended, builds on OFAC’s June 18, 2020 designations targeting Libre Abordo, S.A. de C.V. (Libre Abordo) and a wider Mexico-based network involved in the illicit sale of Venezuelan oil. Today’s action targets additional orchestrators and facilitators with ties to the Mexico network who have conspired with Maduro’s oil minister, Tareck El Aissami Maddah (El Aissami), and indicted money launderer Alex Nain Saab Moran (Saab) to broker the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of Venezuelan oil.

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“Those facilitating the illegitimate Maduro regime’s attempts to circumvent United States sanctions contribute to the corruption that consumes Venezuela,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States remains committed to targeting those enabling the Maduro regime’s abuse of Venezuela’s natural resources.”

The principal actors designated today include Alessandro Bazzoni (Bazzoni), Francisco Javier D’Agostino Casado (D’Agostino), Philipp Paul Vartan Apikian (Apikian), Elemento Ltd (Elemento), and Swissoil Trading SA (Swissoil).

CONTINUATION OF SANCTIONS EVASION NETWORK
On June 18, 2020, OFAC designated Joaquin Leal Jimenez (Leal), Olga Maria Zepeda Esparza (Zepeda), Veronica Esparza Garcia (Esparza), Libre Abordo, and Schlager Business Group S. de R.L. de C.V. (Schlager Business Group) for operating a sanctions-evasion scheme benefitting the illegitimate Maduro regime and PdVSA. The illegitimate Maduro regime, PdVSA, and Saab enlisted Libre Abordo and Leal in a scheme designed to evade U.S. sanctions in which Leal served as the conduit between the Mexico-based network and Saab, D’Agostino, and Bazzoni.

Elemento is based in Valletta, Malta, and has operated in the global oil sector since at least 2017. Elemento has purchased oil from PdVSA and then resold it to third-party customers on behalf of Bazzoni. Between July 2019 and July 2020, Elemento lifted and brokered the sale of at least five shipments of Venezuelan-origin crude oil supplied by PdVSA, several of which were coordinated directly with Libre Abordo or Swissoil. Elemento was designated today for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy and because it has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, PdVSA.

Swissoil, based in Geneva, Switzerland, participated in the scheme by assisting in the sale and shipping of Venezuelan-origin crude oil to buyers in Asia. Swissoil often acted as the consignee, or the entity financially responsible for the receipt of a shipment, for oil shipments brokered by Elemento. Swissoil was also the recipient of at least one shipment of Venezuelan oil in Asia. Swissoil was designated today for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy and because it has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, PdVSA.

D’Agostino, a dual Spanish-Venezuelan citizen, worked with Saab, Leal, and Bazzoni to coordinate the purchase and sale of Venezuelan-origin crude oil on behalf of PdVSA. D’Agostino has been involved in the Venezuelan oil sector since at least 2012 and has partnered with Bazzoni and others on multiple business ventures with PdVSA. D’Agostino has been implicated in a number of projects in the Venezuelan oil sector. D’Agostino was designated today for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy and because he has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, PdVSA.

Bazzoni, along with D’Agostino, is a core facilitator of the network, connecting Elemento and Swissoil with PdVSA and Saab. Bazzoni, an Italian citizen, has been instrumental in coordinating the purchase and sale of Venezuelan-origin crude oil from PdVSA. Following Saab’s June 2020 arrest in Cape Verde and OFAC’s designation of Leal, Bazzoni took over the core coordinating role in the ongoing scheme to broker the re-sale of Venezuelan-origin crude oil from PdVSA and charter vessels willing to go to Venezuela to load oil. Bazzoni was designated today for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy and because he has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, PdVSA.

Apikian, a Swiss national, is the owner and director of Swissoil, and has been involved in the sale and shipment of Venezuela-origin crude oil. Apikian was designated today for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Swissoil.

ENTITIES DESIGNATED FOR BEING OWNED OR CONTROLLED BY BLOCKED PERSONS
Also designated today are nine entities owned or controlled by Bazzoni, D’Agostino, or Elemento:

Elemento Oil and Gas Ltd (Elemento Oil) is a Malta-based entity incorporated in March 2015. Bazzoni is the sole shareholder of Elemento Oil. Elemento Oil was designated for being owned or controlled by Bazzoni.
Elemento Solutions Limited is an entity incorporated in the United Kingdom. Elemento Solutions Limited was designated for being owned or controlled by Elemento.
Element Capital Advisors Ltd is a Panama-based entity incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and was designated for being owned or controlled by D’Agostino.
AMG S.A.S. di Alessandro Bazzoni & C. (AMG) is an entity incorporated in Italy. AMG was designated for being owned or controlled by Bazzoni.
Serigraphiclab di Bazzoni Alessandro (Serigraphiclab) is an Italian entity incorporated as a sole proprietorship owned by Alessandro Bazzoni. Serigraphiclab was designated for being owned or controlled by Bazzoni.
Jambanyani Safaris is a Zimbabwe-based entity and was designated for being owned or controlled by D’Agostino.
D’Agostino & Company, Ltd is an entity located in Venezuela. D’Agostino & Company, Ltd was designated for being owned or controlled by D’Agostino.
Catalina Holdings Corp. (Catalina) is an entity incorporated in New York and was designated for being owned or controlled by D’Agostino.
82 Elm Realty LLC (82 Elm) is a New York limited liability company and was designated for being owned or controlled by D’Agostino.
VESSELS
Today’s action also includes the designation and blocking of the following maritime entities and vessels. The entities were designated for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy, and the vessels were identified as blocked property of these entities. All the vessels have recently lifted Venezuelan oil and thus have facilitated continued sanctions evasion and related activities for PdVSA and the illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro:

Fides Ship Management LLC is located in Odessa, Ukraine and manages or operates the following vessels:
Baliar is a Liberian-flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9192258).
Balita is a Cameroon-flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9176773).
Domani is a Cameroon-flagged shuttle tanker (IMO: 9041057).
Freedom is a Cameroon-flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9018464).
Instituto Nacional de los Espacios Acuaticos e Insulares (INEA) is located in Venezuela. INEA is the registered owner of the vessel Maksim Gorky.
Maksim Gorky is a Russian-flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9590008).
Rustanker LLC is located in Krasnodarskiy Kray, Russia and is the registered owner of the vessel Sierra.
Sierra is a Russian-flagged crude oil tanker (IMO: 9147447).
SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated individuals and entities, are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1239

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