MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian lender Gazprombank has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and halted transactions with the firm to reduce the risk of the bank falling under U.S. sanctions, a Gazprombank source told Reuters on Sunday.
While many foreign firms have been cutting their exposure to PDVSA since the sanctions were imposed, the fact that a lender closely aligned with the Russian state is following suit is significant because the Kremlin has been among Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s staunchest supporters.
“PDVSA’s accounts are currently frozen. As you’ll understand, operations cannot be carried out,” the source said. Gazprombank did not reply to a Reuters request for a comment.
PDVSA brandished the story as “fake news” on its Twitter account in capital red letters, but did not reply to a request for comment.
The world’s first state-backed digital currency ‘el petro’ launched by Venezuela this year to circumvent US sanctions is reportedly getting help from a Russian bank. According to Associated Press, Russia’s Evrofinance Mosnarbank has become the first international financial institution so far willing to back the petro after US authorities warned potential investors over related risks.
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