OFAC adds a new Venezuela General License, and amends FAQ 680

Earlier today, OFAC issued a new Venezuela General License “Authorizing Transactions Involving Certain Government of Venezuela Persons”:

GENERAL LICENSE NO. 34

Authorizing Transactions Involving Certain Government of Venezuela Persons

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this general license, all transactions and activities prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 13884 involving one or more individuals who meet the definition of the “Government of Venezuela,” as defined in E.O. 13884, including all transactions that involve property in which such individuals have an interest, are authorized, provided that the individuals are one or more of the following:

(1) United States citizens;

(2) Permanent resident aliens of the United States;

(3) Individuals in the United States who have a valid U.S. immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, other than individuals in the United States as part of Venezuela’s mission to the United Nations; or

(4) Former employees and contractors of the Government of Venezuela.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c), all transactions necessary to unblock property or interests in property that were blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13884, including the return or processing of funds, for individuals described in paragraph (a) of this general license are authorized.

(c) This general license does not authorize:

(1) The unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to E.O. 13884, or any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, except as authorized by paragraph (a) or (b); or

(2) Any transactions or dealings otherwise prohibited by E.O. 13884, or E.O. 13850 of November 1, 2018, E.O. 13835 of May 21, 2018, E.O. 13827 of March 19, 2018, E.O. 13808 of August 24, 2017, or E.O. 13692 of March 8, 2015, each as amended by E.O. 13857 of January 25, 2019, or any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, or any transactions or dealings with any blocked person, including persons meeting the definition of the “Government of Venezuela” in

E.O. 13884, other than the individuals described in paragraph (a) of this general license.

(d)U.S. persons unblocking property pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) of this general license are required, within 10 business days from the date the property is unblocked, to file a report detailing the information required by 31 C.F.R. § 501.603(b)(3)(ii), with the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Office of Compliance and Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Freedman’s Bank Building, Washington, DC 20220, or via email to OFACReport@treasury.gov.

And amended FAQ 680:

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. Unless exempt or authorized by OFAC, all property and interests in property of persons meeting the definition of the Government of Venezuela  (see section 6(d) of E.O. 13884 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. 13884.  The term “Government of Venezuela,” as defined in E.O. 13884, includes the state and Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), any person owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the foregoing, and any person who has acted or purported to act directly or
indirectly for or on behalf of, any of the foregoing, including as a member of the Maduro regime, 

OFAC has issued several General Licenses (GLs) that provide authorization for categories of persons blocked by E.O. 13884.  GL 34 authorizes transactions with certain Government of Venezuela individuals, including United States citizens; permanent resident aliens of the United States; individuals in the United States who have a valid U.S. immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, other than individuals in the United States as part of Venezuela’s mission to the United Nations; and former employees and contractors of the Government of Venezuela.  In addition, GL 22 authorizes certain transactions related to Venezuela’s mission to the United Nations, and GL 31 provides authorization related to the Government of the Interim President of Venezuela. 

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. 13884, regardless of whether the person appears on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list (SDN List), unless exempt or authorized by OFAC. 

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. [09-09-2019]

Links:

OFAC Notice

General License 34

FAQ 680

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