Report: Venezuela Avoids U.S. Sanctions by Funneling Oil Through Russia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro shakes

The socialist regime in Venezuela is managing to avoid U.S. sanctions by funneling oil through Russian state energy giant Rosneft, an exclusive report by Reuters detailed on Friday.

In a bid to avoid economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Petroleum of Venezuela’s (PDSVA) ability to get paid in dollars, oil bosses have allegedly begun passing invoices for its oil sales to the Russian energy company Rosneft, who then return the proceeds to the regime at a hefty premium.

“PDVSA is delivering its accounts receivable to Rosneft,” one PDSVA source told the agency on the condition of anonymity. “The cash ends up in Russian banks or is used for settling pending payments such as marine services or freight so that oil exports are not interrupted.”

Some of the clients for PDSVA’s oil, according to Reuters, include the Indian energy giant Reliance Industries Ltd, who as part of the scheme are allegedly paying Rosneft for Venezuelan crude. “Rosneft is buying our oil for cheap and selling us very expensive fuel in exchange,” the source added. “We always owe them money.”

Russia remains a crucial ally of the Maduro regime by providing vital financial and military support in the hope of exerting greater influence throughout the region. Last month, Russian troops arrived in the capital Caracas to help bolster Maduro’s security amid growing social disobedience as the country suffers under the weight of the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in its history.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said they consider U.S. sanctions as illegal and would do everything to help the regime evade them.

“We are concerned over the continuing actions by the United States toward the countries of the Latin American region. We see the sanctions as absolutely unlawful and illegitimate,” he said. “We will oppose them. Venezuela and Cuba are our allies and strategic partners in the region. We will do everything we can to let them feel our support.”

Venezuelan oil revenues have plunged in recent years irrespective of U.S. sanctions because of a chronic lack of productivity. According to various reports, the country’s state-run oil industry is currently producing well under one million barrels a day, compared to 3.2 million barrels a day when socialist Hugo Chávez seized power in 1998.

Western democracies led by the U.S. have rallied behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president and called for Maduro to step down and allow a transition to democracy in the troubled South American country.

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