Aircraft with cash worth several hundred million dollars were sent from Russia to Venezuela for the year since May 2018, Bloomberg learned.
The government of Venezuela this money could help circumvent US sanctions.
In total, $ 315 million in cash in dollars and euros was sent to Venezuela from Russia in six flights, writes Bloomberg with reference to the data of ImportGenius.
She compared the statistics of the Russian customs service, which she received from her sealed sources, the agency claims. The data obtained covers the period from May 2018 to April 2019.
So, according to ImportGenius, in April 2019, cash worth about $ 97 million went to Venezuela with two cargoes.
The money, according to Bloomberg, was sent by the Russian-Venezuelan Eurofinance Mosnarbank.
He has been under US sanctions since March. 25% plus 1 share in the bank belonged to VTB, the same package was in the possession of Gazprombank, the remaining share was held by the Venezuelan bank Bandes (Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social de Venezuela). After the imposition of sanctions, VTB first, and then Gazprombank transferred shares in Eurofinance to Mosnarbank to the Federal Property Management Agency.
In January, Gazprombank, while still a shareholder of Eurofinance Mosnarbank, sent cargo from banknotes of € 100 totaling $ 113 million to Caracas, Bloomberg claims. According to him, two days earlier Gazprombank sent $ 50 million in dollar bills to Venezuela. Two more tranches totaling $ 55 million (the currency is not specified) were sent in May and July 2018, the agency writes.
The recipient of the money sent from Russia was Bandes Bank, Bloomberg claims.
The representative of Eurofinance Mosnarbank did not respond to a request from Bloomberg. Bandes forwarded the request to the Venezuelan Ministry of Communications and Information. It did not respond to the agency. Gazprombank spokesman Anton Trifonov declined to comment on the shipment, but noted that the bank stopped working with Bandes in March 2019.
A Bloomberg source in the Venezuelan government confirmed that the country received cash in cash, “related to Eurofinance Mosnarbank,” but declined to provide details.
What is the purpose of sending funds — it is not clear how the origin of the money. Bloomberg notes that Venezuela could, for example, withdraw its funds that it held abroad, or demanded dividends from a stake in Eurofinance Mosnarbank or revenue from sales of oil and gold. In any case, this is one of the ways for the Venezuelan government and President Nicolas Maduro to circumvent the US sanctions imposed in January and March, Bloomberg believes. In August, restrictions were expanded: almost all power structures of Venezuela, including the central bank, were included in the list.