US Treasury Department sanctions Rosneft Trading S.A. for supporting Maduro regime

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The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Tuesday announced the designation of Rosneft Trading S.A., the Swiss-incorporated, Russian-controlled oil brokerage firm for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.

A release from the Department said OFAC also designated the chairman of the board of directors and president of Rosneft Trading S.A., Didier Casimiro, for purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Rosneft Trading S.A.

“Rosneft Trading S.A. and its president brokered the sale and transport of Venezuelan crude oil,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.  “The United States is determined to prevent the looting of Venezuela’s oil assets by the corrupt Maduro regime.”

The release said Rosneft Trading S.A. is a subsidiary of the Russian state-controlled global energy giant Rosneft Oil Company.

Registered in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland as a trading company in January 2011, Rosneft Trading S.A. was created to assist Rosneft Oil Company in carrying out its foreign projects.

Casimiro, who has sole signing authority at Rosneft Trading S.A. has held meetings with Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) officials that have involved assessing projects and opportunities to strengthen strategic relationships for Rosneft Trading S.A. with PdVSA.

“Concurrent with this action, OFAC is issuing a general license that authorizes certain transactions and activities that are ordinarily…necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Rosneft Trading S.A. As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Rosneft Trading S.A. and Didier Casimiro that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated individual and entity, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC,” the press release said.

Recent Rosneft Trading S.A. activity:

  • In January 2020, Rosneft Trading S.A. facilitated, on behalf of PdVSA, a shipment of two million barrels of Merey-16 crude oil from Venezuela to West Africa.
  • In the fall of 2019, PdVSA planned oil shipments with Rosneft Trading S.A. involving 55 million barrels of crude oil liftings from September to December 2019.
  • In September 2019, PdVSA supplied a shipment of one million barrels of Merey-16 to Rosneft Trading S.A., which was loaded on a vessel in Venezuela and destined for Asia.
  • In August 2019, Rosneft Trading S.A. negotiated a shipment of two million barrels of Venezuelan crude oil with PdVSA and was able to find a vessel willing to transport the cargo despite difficulties that came with doing business in Venezuela.

A recent Bloomberg report said the U.S. was eyeing tougher sanctions “that could target Russian producer Rosneft PJSC.”

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