- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Treasury Department slapped sanctions Tuesday on Venezuela’s state-run gold mine and its president, accusing the operation of propping up the regime of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

“The illegitimate Maduro regime is pillaging the wealth of Venezuela while imperiling indigenous people by encroaching on protected areas and causing deforestation and habitat loss,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “Maduro’s scheme to usurp the National Assembly’s authority and strip Venezuela of natural resources has exposed local communities to dangerous toxins.”

The U.S. is targeting gold processor Minerven and its president, Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata, “for propping up the inner circle of the corrupt Maduro regime,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

“We will aggressively pursue those involved with Maduro’s reckless illicit gold trade which is contributing to this financial, humanitarian, and environmental crisis,” he said.

President Trump has recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate interim president. Mr. Trump is holding talks at the White House Tuesday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in part to discuss ways to put more pressure on Maduro to step down.



Treasury said Minerven, as the sole processor of gold in Venezuela, purchases gold from miners, paying them in nearly worthless currency while funneling the profits of the gold to the Central Bank of Venezuela to benefit Maduro.

“This practice has allowed the illegitimate regime to convert its depreciating currency into gold and other foreign currencies, paying the miners in nearly worthless Bolivars, while allowing the Maduro regime a lifeline to cling to power,” Treasury said.

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