US tightens sanctions lasso on Rosneft operations handling Venezuelan oil

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) continues to pursue Russian state-controlled Rosneft Oil Co. (OTCMKTS: RNFTF) and its overseas affiliates involved with international transactions of Venezuela oil.

On Thursday, OFAC added TNK Trading International S.A. (TTI) to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.

U.S. individuals and companies are generally prohibited from conducting business with individuals or entities on the SDN List. Additionally, entities owned 50% or more in the aggregate by listed individuals or entities are blocked.

OFAC said following its Feb. 18 addition of Rosneft Trading S.A. to the SDN List that cargoes of Venezuelan oil were shifted to TTI to evade U.S. sanctions. Both Rosneft Trading and TTI are located in Switzerland and operated by Didier Casimiro.

“TNK Trading International S.A. is another Rosneft subsidiary brokering the sale and transport of Venezuelan crude oil, which is subject to sanctions,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement. “The Trump administration remains committed to targeting those who support the corrupt regime’s exploitation of Venezuela’s oil assets.”

Rosneft Oil Co. obtained control over TTI in December 2017. The company is involved in the trading, processing and transport of raw materials, in particular unrefined petroleum and petroleum products.

Together, TTI and Rosneft Trading handled a large percentage of Venezuela’s oil exports in 2019. According OFAC, TTI in January 2020 purchased about 14 million barrels of crude oil from Venezuela state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), which has remained a significant funding source to the country’s embattled President Nicolás Maduro.

In addition to this action, OFAC on Thursday issued a general license, which authorizes the continuation of certain business transactions with Rosneft Trading and TTI during a “wind down” period, expiring May 20.