Ofac Issues New Regulations Regarding Its Venezuela-Related Sanctions

Read or download PDF of Overview Chapter here


On September 9, 2019, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued new regulations regarding Executive Order (“E.O.”) 13884 whereby, on August 5, 2019,  President Donald Trump (i) blocked all property or interest in property of the Government of Venezuela within or transiting U.S. jurisdiction; (ii) prohibited U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with the Government of Venezuela or entities in which it has, directly or indirectly, 50% or greater ownership interest; and (iii)  authorized OFAC to include in its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list any person that is determined, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided support to the Government of Venezuela; or be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for, or on behalf of, the Government of Venezuela.
The term ‘‘Government of Venezuela’’ includes the State and Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), any person owned or controlled by the foregoing, and any person who has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, any of the foregoing.
Specifically, OFAC issued General License No. 34 “Authorizing Transactions Involving Certain Government of Venezuela Persons.” This general license authorizes all transactions and activities that would be otherwise prohibited by E.O. 13884 involving one or more individuals who meet the definition of the “Government of Venezuela,” including all transactions that involve property in which such individuals have an interest, provided that these individuals are: (i) U.S. citizens; (ii) permanent resident aliens of the U.S.; (iii) individuals in the U.S. who have a valid U.S. immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, other than individuals in U.S. as part of Venezuela’s mission to the United Nations; or (4) former employees and contractors of the Government of Venezuela. Additionally, this general license authorizes all transactions necessary to unblock property or interests in property that were blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13884, including the return or processing of funds, for the individuals described herein.
General License No. 34 does not authorize the unblocking of funds blocked pursuant to, or the processing of any transactions prohibited under, any executive order other than   E.O. 13884. In addition, General License No. 34 requires U.S. persons unblocking property to file a report pursuant to OFAC regulations within 10 days from the date the property is unblocked.
On the same date, OFAC amended its guidelines regarding the Venezuela-related sanctions to make them compatible with General License No. 34.