Venezuela slams US over ‘vulgar’ central bank funds seizure
Caracas (AFP) – Venezuela on Friday hit out at the United States over the seizure of $342 million that its central bank had held in an account at Citibank.
In a Twitter post, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza blasted the “vulgar dispossession” of the money “ordered” by the US — and pointed to “complicity” by the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
The US-based assets of Venezuela’s central bank are among those that have been frozen under tough sanctions put in place by the government of President Donald Trump.
This week, Venezuela’s legislature — led by US-backed Juan Guaido — authorized the transfer of the funds from a central bank account with Citibank to its account at the New York branch of the US Federal Reserve.
Neither the National Assembly nor the central bank divulged the amount transferred, but opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado told AFP it amounted to $342 million.
Alvarado said the move aimed to “further protect these assets,” but the central bank called it illegal.
President Nicolas Maduro’s government does not recognize the National Assembly as the lawful legislature.
In January 2019, Guaido used his position as assembly speaker to declare himself acting president in a direct challenge to Maduro.
He has since been recognized by more than 50 countries, including his principal ally in Washington.
Washington has helped Guaido seize control of Venezuelan government assets held in the United States, including Citgo, the US-based subsidiary of state oil company PDVSA.