HomeNewsBriefUS Warning on Venezuela Corruption Could Foreshadow More Sanctions
BRIEF

US Warning on Venezuela Corruption Could Foreshadow More Sanctions

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 SEP 2017 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

The United States has issued an advisory to alert financial institutions about widespread public corruption in Venezuela, and called on them to report suspicious activity in what appears to be an attempt to build evidence that could help levy sanctions against Venezuelan government officials.

On September 20, the US Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to alert financial institutions of "widespread public corruption in Venezuela and the methods Venezuelan senior political figures (and their associates and front persons) may use to move and hide corruption proceeds."

In the advisory, FinCEN outlined some "red flags" to help financial institutions identify and report suspicious activities that may indicate "Venezuelan corruption, including the abuse of Venezuelan government contracts."

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

In the past, FinCEN has received various reports of suspicious transactions thought to be linked to public corruption in the Venezuelan government. However, the advisory stated that "normal business and other transactions involving Venezuelan nationals and businesses do not necessarily represent the same risk as transactions and relationships identified as being connected to the Venezuelan government, Venezuelan officials, and Venezuelan state-owned enterprises involved in public corruption."

InSight Crime Analysis 

The US Treasury Department's latest warning concerning public corruption in Venezuela appears to be an attempt by the United States to build evidence against Venezuelan government officials in order to continue levying targeted sanctions against them, as opposed to the more controversial approach of levying broader sanctions that could potentially deepen suffering in the crisis-stricken South American nation.

Michael McCarthy, a research fellow at American University, told InSight Crime that the advisory sends a clear message that "reinforces the tough stance" taken by the administration of US President Donald Trump, "and closes windows for future financing" for the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

McCarthy added that this sort of advisory "falls within the realm of issues that still has a strong bipartisan consensus" and "raises the possibility" of more sanctions.

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

Indeed, when the United States sanctioned several top officials in the Maduro administration earlier this year for "undermining democracy," the New York Times reported that the move "won support across the aisle in Washington." The US Treasury Department has also sanctioned Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking, and more recently placed sanctions on President Maduro.

The advisory may also be an effort to gather evidence for criminal trials in the United States linked to corruption in Venezuela. (Some of these have already concluded with convictions.) For several years, US authorities have been investigating whether Venezuela's state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA) provided billions of dollars in kickbacks for Venezuelan leaders. And in 2016, US officials were reportedly "closing in" on several Venezuelan government officials who were suspected of taking bribes in exchange for awarding government contracts at inflated prices.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 3 DEC 2015

Venezuela's social and economic disarray has resulted in a sharp increase in the amount of children involved in crime, spotlighting…

COCAINE / 21 JUN 2021

Misconceptions surrounding Mexico's drug trade have long been replicated in popular culture and public discourses.

COLOMBIA / 16 OCT 2019

A ring that sexually exploited minors from Venezuela has been dismantled in Colombia, but this only further highlights the vulnerability…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…