679. Executive Order of August 5, 2019, “Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela,” blocks all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela. What does this mean for the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela?
The United States stands with the Venezuelan people and Interim President of Venezuela Juan Gerardo Guaidó Marquez (“Guaidó”) in opposition to the illegitimate former Maduro regime. By issuing General License 31, OFAC is authorizing transactions involving the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela that are prohibited by E.O. of August 5, 2019, or prohibited by E.O. 13850 with respect to certain persons appointed by Guaidó. This authorization covers the Venezuela National Assembly, including its members and staff, and any persons appointed or designated by the National Assembly to act on behalf of the Government of Venezuela. In addition, General License 31 authorizes transactions involving Interim President of Venezuela Guaidó, and any official, designee, or representative appointed or designated by Guaidó to act on behalf of the Government of Venezuela, including the Special Attorney General, and any staff of the foregoing individuals; any ambassador or other representative to the United States or to a third country appointed by Guaidó, and any staff of such ambassador or representative; any representative to an international organization appointed by Guaidó, and any staff of such representative; any person appointed by Guaidó to the board of directors (including any ad hoc board of directors) or appointed as an executive officer of a Government of Venezuela entity (including entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Government of Venezuela); and any other person that is appointed or designated by any of the foregoing persons to act on behalf of the Government of Venezuela. [08-06-2019]
680. Does the blocking of the Government of Venezuela impact the ability of U.S. persons to transact with the Government of Venezuela, or persons in which the Government of Venezuela owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest?
Yes. All property and interests in property of persons meeting the definition of the Government of Venezuela (see section 6(d) of E.O. of August 5, 2019) that are in, or come within, the United States or the possession or control of a United States person are blocked, pursuant to E.O. of August 5, 2019, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC. Without authorization from OFAC, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with the Government of Venezuela, or persons in which the Government of Venezuela owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. U.S. persons are not prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the country or people of Venezuela, provided blocked persons or any conduct prohibited by any other Executive order imposing sanctions measures related to the situation in Venezuela, are not involved.
Please note that persons meeting the definition of Government of Venezuela and persons that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the Government of Venezuela are blocked pursuant to E.O. of August 5, 2019, regardless of whether the person appears on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list (SDN List). See General License 31 for guidance regarding the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela.
As a general matter, OFAC expects financial institutions to conduct due diligence on their own direct customers (including, for example, their ownership structure) to confirm that those customers are not persons whose property and interests in property are blocked. With regard to other types of transactions where a financial institution is acting solely as an intermediary and fails to block transactions involving a sanctions target, OFAC will consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding the bank’s processing of the transaction to determine what, if any, regulatory response is appropriate. [08-06-2019]
681. Does General License 28 extend the authorization of wind-down periods that have expired for Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), or other blocked Government of Venezuela persons?
No. General License 28, “Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to the Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts Involving the Government of Venezuela,” only authorizes dealings with persons blocked solely pursuant to E.O. of August 5, 2019; General License 28 does not authorize dealings with persons blocked under E.O.s 13692 or 13850, as amended, or any activities or transactions prohibited under E.O.s 13808, 13827, or 13835, each as amended.
General licenses authorizing wind-down periods for previously designated Government of Venezuela entities (e.g., General License 11 pertaining to PdVSA and General License 19 pertaining to BCV) have expired, and all transactions and activities with such designated persons should have been wound down by the expiration of the applicable general license, absent specific authorization from OFAC.
For clarity on the scope of each general license (including its expiration and the Executive orders or prohibitions the general license authorizes against), please refer to the header of each general license, relevant notes, and any specified expiration date. [08-06-2019]