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OFAC updates Venezuela GL 31 & amends 5 FAQs

OFAC has updated Venezuela General License 31 (new version is 31B). The new version explicitly excludes transactions involving the new National Constituent Assembly (which was seated last week):

5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) were also updated:

Venezuela Sanctions

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 34A authorizes transactions with certain Government of Venezuela individuals, including United States citizens; permanent resident aliens of the United States; individuals 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; former employees and contractors of the Government of Venezuela; and current employees and contractors of the Government of Venezuela who provide health or education services in Venezuela, including at hospitals, schools, and universities. In addition, GL 22 authorizes certain transactions related to Venezuela’s mission to the United Nations, and GL 31B provides authorization related to the IV Venezuelan National Assembly seated on January 5, 2016 (“IV National Assembly”). Please see FAQ 679 regarding the scope of GL 31B. 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. For 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.

Date Updated: January 09, 2023

Updated on 01/09/2023

Venezuela Sanctions

679. Executive Order (E.O.) 13884 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 IV Venezuelan National Assembly seated on January 5, 2016 (“IV National Assembly”)?

The United States stands with the Venezuelan people and the IV National Assembly in opposition to the Maduro regime. On January 09, 2023, OFAC issued Venezuela-related General License 31B authorizing all transactions involving the IV National Assembly, its Delegated Commission, any entity established by, or under the direction of, the IV National Assembly to exercise its mandate (“IV National Assembly Entity”), or involving any person appointed or designated by, or whose appointment or designation is retained by, the IV National Assembly, its Delegated Commission, or a IV National Assembly Entity, to act on behalf of the Government of Venezuela, including their respective members and staff, that are otherwise prohibited by E.O. 13884. The authorization also covers transactions prohibited by E.O. 13850, as amended, with respect to any person appointed or designated by, or whose appointment or designation is retained by, the IV National Assembly, its Delegated Commission, or a IV National Assembly Entity to the board of directors (including any ad hoc board of directors) or as an executive officer of a Government of Venezuela entity (including entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Government of Venezuela). 

Effective January 09, 2023, General License 31B replaced and superseded General License 31A in its entirety.

Date Updated: January 09, 2023

Updated on 01/09/2023

Venezuela Sanctions

660. When will sanctions be lifted on Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) or any entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest?

The path to sanctions relief for PdVSA and its subsidiaries is through the expeditious transfer of control of the company to a democratically elected government that is committed to taking concrete and meaningful actions to combat corruption, restore democracy, and respect human rights. A bona fide transfer of control will ensure that the assets of Venezuela are preserved for the country’s people, rather than misused and diverted by former President Nicolas Maduro. Treasury will continue to use its economic tools to support the IV Venezuelan National Assembly seated on January 5, 2016 and the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore their democracy.

Date Updated: January 09, 2023

Updated on 01/09/2023

Venezuela Sanctions

547. Can U.S. Persons participate in meetings about restructuring outstanding Venezuelan and PDVSA debt?

U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with persons named on OFAC’s SDN List, including dealing with an SDN in the context of efforts to restructure Venezuelan and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) debt.  Provided there is no SDN involvement, Venezuela-related General License 3 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in all transactions related to bonds specified in the Annex to General License 3, including participating in negotiations regarding such bonds. General License 3 does not authorize any transaction by a U.S. person or within the United States that involves the creation or subsequent dealing in new debt of PdVSA or debt otherwise of the Government of Venezuela with a maturity of greater than 90 days or 30 days, respectively, absent a license from OFAC.  OFAC would consider license applications involving any such new debt or equity on a case-by-case basis, and base licensing determinations on the facts and circumstances of the particular application.  As stated in FAQ 522, the United States government would consider using licensing authority to allow U.S. persons to deal in new debt of the Government of Venezuela approved by the democratically elected IV Venezuelan National Assembly seated on January 5, 2016.

Date Updated: January 09, 2023

Updated on 01/09/2023

Venezuela Sanctions

522. Other than through the existing general licenses, under what circumstances might U.S. persons be authorized to deal in new debt of greater than 30 or 90 days issued by the Government of Venezuela?

In the Lima Declaration of August 8, 2017, 12 countries across the Americas refused to recognize the Constituent Assembly or the laws it adopts because of its illegitimate nature, while at the same time fully backing the democratically elected IV Venezuelan National Assembly seated on January 5, 2016 (“IV National Assembly”). We stand in solidarity with our friends and allies in the region. If the democratically elected IV National Assembly approved a new debt issuance by the Government of Venezuela that Executive Order (E.O.) 13808 would prohibit U.S. persons from dealing in, the United States would consider using licensing authority to allow U.S. persons to deal in the issuance.

Date Updated: January 09, 2023

Updated on 01/09/2023

Amended Frequently Asked Questions

Links:

OFAC Notice

General License 31B

Amended FAQs

Categories: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance Licenses OFAC Updates Venezuela sanctions

eric9to5

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