Venezuela

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August 21, 2013 - Treasury Targets Venezuelan Narcotics Trafficker

Action Designates Former Venezuelan Military Official, Previously Indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, Who Aided Mexican Drug Cartels - The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated Venezuelan national, Vassyly Kotosky Villarroel Ramirez, as a drug kingpin pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Villarroel Ramirez, a former Captain in Venezuela’s National Guard (Guardia Nacional), was designated for the significant role he plays in international narcotics trafficking in both Colombia and Venezuela. While serving as a Captain in Venezuela’s National Guard, Villarroel Ramirez arranged for the transportation of loads of cocaine as well as the U.S. dollar proceeds from the sale of the cocaine, using various airports, seaports, and official government vehicles in Venezuela. Today’s action complements a 2011 indictment against Villarroel Ramirez by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) on multiple cocaine trafficking charges.

“Villarroel Ramirez is a prime example of a narcotics trafficker who exploited his former military position and connections to facilitate the transport of cocaine to Mexico and profit from the sales that followed,” said Treasury’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Adam J. Szubin. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement colleagues to target this type of abusive behavior which perpetuates the criminal violence linked to the narcotics trade.”

Villarroel Ramirez provided security and protection when cocaine loads and the proceeds from Mexico were smuggled from or into Venezuela’s Maiquetía International Airport via commercial or private aircraft. He facilitated the cocaine loads from Colombia through Venezuela in partnership with known drug traffickers such as Daniel Barrera Barrera (alias “El Loco Barrera”), Javier Antonio Calle Serna (alias “Comba”), and Jose Gerardo Alvarez Vazquez (alias “El Indio”) – all of whom have been designated as foreign narcotics traffickers under the Kingpin Act. The cocaine shipments benefited Mexican drug trafficking organizations, specifically the Sinaloa Cartel, Los Zetas, and the Beltran Leyva Organization – all of which have been identified by the President as significant foreign narcotics traffickers under the Kingpin Act.

On March 30, 2011, Villarroel Ramirez and a co-conspirator were indicted in the EDNY on six counts of cocaine trafficking-related charges. According to the indictment, between January 2004 and December 2009 Villarroel Ramirez and the co-conspirator imported thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia through Venezuela to Mexico, for transportation to and distribution within the United States. Also, Villarroel Ramirez is reportedly charged with narcotics trafficking and money laundering in Venezuela since 2008.

Today’s action, taken pursuant to the Kingpin Act, generally prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with Villarroel Ramirez and freezes any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

This action would not have been possible without the support of the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Since June 2000, the President has identified 103 drug kingpins, and OFAC has designated more than 1,300 businesses and individuals, pursuant to the Kingpin Act. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

To view a chart about Villarroel Ramirez’s activities, click here.

US Department of the Treasury Press Release


January 30, 2013 - Kingpin Act Designations​; Kingpin Act Designations​ Removals; Counter Narcotics Designation Removals

Specially Designated Nationals List Update

The following individual has been added to OFAC's SDN List:

The following entity has been added to OFAC's SDN List:

The following deletions have been made to OFAC's SDN List:

OFAC Recent Actions


September 13, 2012 - Kingpin Act Designations - Specially Designated Nationals Update

The following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN List:

The following entities have been added to OFAC's SDN List:

OFAC Recent Actions


September 08, 2011 - The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced the designation of four Venezuelan government officials pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for acting for or on behalf of the narco-terrorist organization the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), often in direct support of its narcotics and arms trafficking activities.

As a result of today’s action, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with today’s designees and any assets that they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. OFAC designated the following individuals for sanctions today: <sort> Amilcar Jesus Figueroa Salazar (“Tino”): a member of Venezuela’s delegation to the Latin American Parliament (Parlamento Latinamericano) who has served as a primary arms dealer for the FARC, and is a main conduit for FARC leaders based in Venezuela. He has also provided training for the FARC. Cliver Antonio Alcala Cordones: a Major General of the Fourth Armored Division of the Venezuelan Army who has used his position to establish an arms-for-drugs route with the FARC. Freddy Alirio Bernal Rosales: a Congressman for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and former Mayor of the Libertador Municipality of Caracas who has facilitated arms sales between the Venezuelan government and the FARC. Ramon Isidro Madriz Moreno (“Amin”): a key officer of Venezuela’s intelligence service (SEBIN) who has coordinated security for the FARC. </sort> OFAC Press Release & OFAC Chart


October 22, 2008 - Banco Internacional de Desarrollo - The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced (October 22, 2008) that it was adding the Export Development Bank of Iran (“EDBI”) to its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. The effect of the designation is to freeze all assets of the bank in the United States now or in the future. According to the press release issued in connection with the designation, the Iranian bank is assisting the Government of Iran in connection with its nuclear proliferation activities.

EDBI's Venezuelan subsidiary Banco Internacional de Desarrollo was sanctioned at same time.

NOTE: The name of the Venezuelan subsidiary is perilously similar to the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, otherwise known as the Inter-American Development Bank, an international banking organization in Washington, D.C. To make the situation worse, a Google search on “Banco Internacional de Desarrollo” returns the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo as its first result. Both lookalikes are NOT sanctioned!

Major drug-producing or drug-transit country

September 15, 2011 - Under the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (FAA), the President is required each year to notify Congress of those countries he determines to be major illicit drug-producing countries or major drug-transit countries that significantly affect the United States. A country’s presence on the list does not necessarily reflect its counternarcotics efforts or its level of cooperation on illegal drug control with the United States. The designation can reflect a combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to be produced and/or trafficked through a country.

When a country on the list does not fulfill its obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements and conventions, the President determines that the country has failed demonstrably to meet its counterdrug obligations, only Bolivia, Burma, and Venezuela, failed demonstrably. Such a designation can lead to sanctions. However, the President may also execute a waiver when he determines there is a vital national interest in continuing U.S. assistance. Even without such a waiver, humanitarian assistance and counternarcotics assistance may continue.

TCO

July 25, 2011 - President Obama has signed an Executive Order imposing sanctions against significant transnational criminal organizations (TCO's). The Order provides the United States with new tools to break the economic power of transnational organized crime and protect financial markets. It will assist the Administration’s efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the TCO's that pose a significant threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy or the economy.

As a result of this Order, any property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the significant TCO's listed in the Annex have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

The Order also authorizes the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and State, to identify for sanctions any individual or entity determined to have materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this Order.

The US encourage partners and allies to echo the commitment and join in building a new framework for international cooperation to protect all our citizens from the violence, harm and exploitation wrought by transnational organized crime.

In signing today’s Order, the President imposed sanctions on the following organizations listed:

More information on the Transnational Criminal Organizations page.


June 05, 2013 - Transnational Criminal Organizations Designations - Mara Salvatrucha Leaders aka MS13

The Mara Salvatrucha gang originated in Los Angeles and has spread to Central America, other parts of the United States, and Canada. It is commonly abbreviated as MS, Mara, and MS-13. There is some dispute about the etymology of the name. The most common belief is that the word "Mara" refers to the Spanish word for "gang", and "Salvatrucha" (which is Spanish slang) for "Salvadoran army ant". Alternatively, it is suggested that "Salvatrucha" refers to the Salvadoran peasant guerrillas, the source of much of the gang's early manpower. The number 13 is homage to the Los Angeles gang "Los Emes" or "The Ms"(M being the thirteenth letter of the alphabet). The gang was set up in Los Angeles in 1980's by Salvadoran immigrants in the city's Pico-Union neighborhood. Source: Urban Dictionary

Please visit this chart for more information on these designations.

The following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN List: <sort> BERCIAN MANCHON, Moris Alexander (a.k.a. "EL BARNEY"); DOB 30 Oct 1984; POB San Salvador, El Salvador; nationality El Salvador (individual) [TCO]. CISNEROS RODRIGUEZ, Jose Misael (a.k.a. CISNEROS, Jose Misal; a.k.a. "HALF MILLION"; a.k.a. "MEDIO MLON"); DOB 02 Oct 1976; POB Agua Caliente, Chalatenango, El Salvador; nationality El Salvador (individual) [TCO]. HENRIQUEZ SOLORZANO, Borromeo Enrique (a.k.a. RIVERA ARIAS, Racson Mario; a.k.a. "EL DIABLITO"; a.k.a. "EL DIABLITO DE HOLLYWOOD"; a.k.a. "EL DIABLO"; a.k.a. "EL DIABLO PEQUENO"); DOB 27 Jul 1978; POB San Salvador, El Salvador; nationality El Salvador (individual) [TCO]. MONTERROSA-LARIOS, Marvin Geovanny (a.k.a. MONTERROSA-LARIOS, Marvin Jeovanny; a.k.a. "ENANO"); DOB 21 May 1974; POB San Miguel, San Miguel, El Salvador; nationality El Salvador (individual) [TCO]. RIVERA-LUNA, Moises Humberto (a.k.a. "SANTOS"; a.k.a. "VIEJO SANTOS"); DOB 23 May 1969; POB San Salvador, El Salvador; nationality El Salvador (individual) [TCO]. TURCIOS ANGEL, Saul Antonio (a.k.a. "EL TRECE"; a.k.a. "SHAYBOYS"); DOB 17 May 1978; POB Zaragoza, La Libertad, El Salvador; nationality El Salvador (individual) [TCO]. </sort> OFAC Recent Actions

ITAR

ITAR Based sanctions, see chapter on ITAR for more detailed information

FATF Warning List

February 22, 2013 - Venezuela no longer subject to the FATF’s on-going global AML/CFT compliance process.

FATF Public Statement


June 22, 2012 - As part of its on-going review of compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF has to date identified the following jurisdiction (Venezuela) which has strategic AML/CFT deficiencies for which it has developed an action plan with the FATF. Venezuela has provided a written high-level political commitment to address the identified deficiencies. The FATF welcomes these commitments.

Note: Strategic Deficiencies Require Enhanced Due Diligence

The FATF calls on Venezuela to complete the implementation of action plans expeditiously and within the proposed timeframes. The FATF will closely monitor the implementation of these action plans and encourages its members to consider the information presented in the link.


February 16, 2012 - The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In order to protect the international financial system from ML/FT risks and to encourage greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identified jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies and works with them to address those deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system.

As part of its ongoing review of compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF has identified that this jurisdictions (Venezuela) has AML/CFT deficiencies for which it has developed an action plan with the FATF.

NOTE-1: Strategic deficiencies require Enhanced Due Diligence

NOTE-2: FATF members and other jurisdictions should apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the on-going and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks emanating from the jurisdictions Iran and North Korea.


The FATF and the FSRBs will continue to work with this jurisdiction and to report on the progress made in addressing the identified deficiencies. The FATF calls on the jurisdiction to complete the implementation of action plans expeditiously and within the proposed time frames. All member states should treat this jurisdiction (Venezuela) with vigilance FATF Public Statement - February 16, 2012


June 24, 2011 - The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In order to protect the international financial system from ML/FT risks and to encourage greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identified jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies and works with them to address those deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system.

As part of its ongoing review of compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF has identified that this jurisdictions (Venezuela) has AML/CFT deficiencies for which it has developed an action plan with the FATF.

NOTE-1: Strategic deficiencies require Enhanced Due Diligence

NOTE-2: FATF members and other jurisdictions should apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the on-going and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks emanating from the jurisdictions Iran and North Korea.


The FATF and the FSRBs will continue to work with this jurisdiction and to report on the progress made in addressing the identified deficiencies. The FATF calls on the jurisdiction to complete the implementation of action plans expeditiously and within the proposed time frames. All member states should treat this jurisdiction (Venezuela) with vigilance FATF Public Statement - June 24, 2011


US FinCen - AML/CFT Deficiencies Warning List

July 13, 2011 - FinCen adopted the Financial Action Task Force Public Statement on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Risks and FinCen provided guidance on the subject. More detailed information FIN-2011-A011 and FIN-2011-A012

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