State Dept. blacklists Russian oil company for helping Maduro regime avoid U.S. oil sanctions

File – Elliott Abrams, left, listens to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talk about Venezuela at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo]

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:04 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Trump administration recently announced it’s imposing sanctions on a subsidiary of the Russian oil conglomerate Rosneft.

The sanctions will freeze all assets held in the U.S. by Rosneft Trading SA, the Swiss-incorporated broker for the Russian oil company, and also target firm President Didier Casimiro. Private holders of interests in the firm will be given 90 days to divest from the company or risk having their assets frozen.

Rosneft and its subsidiaries have been accused of helping embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro evade existing U.S. sanctions on its oil exports, a major source of income for the regime, which controls the world’s largest reserves of crude oil.

According to U.S. Special Rep. for Venezuela Elliot Abrams, the Russian company disguised shipments of crude oil. Just last month, it moved over 2 million barrels to West Africa.

Maduro’s regime has depended on aid from Russia, China, and Cuba since an attempt was made to replace him with Juan Guaido, the former president of the National Assembly of Venezuela. The U.S. and other Western allies recognize Guaido as the acting president of the South American country pending Democratic elections.

Self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela and opposition leader Juan Guaido attends a legislative session at the San Antonio municipal theater, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. The lawmakers are meeting at an alternative location due to the government blocking their access to the National Assembly chambers. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Since last year, the U.S. has increased pressure on Maduro to cede power and allow for elections by imposing sanctions on key Venezuelan industries. This included its state-owned oil and natural gas company Petróleos de Venezuela.

While announcing the sanctions, Abrams reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to continuing its campaign to oust Maduro from power and seek democratic elections for the people of Venezuela.

‘Today’s sanctions are another step in the policy of pressuring the Maduro regime to allow Venezuela to escape from its terrible crisis through free and fair presidential elections,” he stated. “There will be more steps and further pressure.’

Officials in the administration have added they do not believe the move will have an effect on global oil prices.

RELATED: President Trump honors Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido during State of the Union address

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Family of child who fell off Royal Caribbean Cruise line says company is holding back evidence

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:39 AM PT — Monday, January 27, 2020

The family of the child who fell to her death from a cruise ship window in July has claimed the Royal Caribbean is lying to the Puerto Rican court about their role in the incident.

One America’s Mary Holman reports.

OTHER NEWS: Ariz. woman fights to keep her embryos after divorce, following court ruling to donate them

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Pete Buttigieg releases summary of consultancy work, calls on company to release him from NDA

closePete Buttigieg struggles to find support from black votersVideo

Pete Buttigieg struggles to find support from black voters

Buttigieg's difficulties with police and the black community started early in his first term as mayor of South Bend; senior correspondent Mike Tobin reports.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is calling on a consulting firm he used to work for to release a list of clients he was assigned, and to release him from his nondisclosure agreement — while releasing a summary of his work there, amid concerns about potential conflicts of interest if he were elected president.

“I believe transparency is particularly important under the present circumstances in our country, which is one of the reasons why I have released all tax returns from my time in the private sector and since,” the South Bend, Ind. mayor said in a statement. “I am today reiterating my request that McKinsey release me from this agreement, and I again make clear that I authorize them to release the full list of clients I was assigned to serve."


“This company must recognize the importance of transparency in the exceptional case of a former employee becoming a competitive candidate for the U.S. presidency,” he said.

Buttigieg worked for McKinsey & Company between 2007 and 2010, but many of the details of his time there have not been revealed, with Buttigieg citing an NDA he signed. But questions have only increased as Buttigieg has entered the presidential race and moved up the polls — with some showing him in second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

The campaign says it inquired about the confidentiality agreement in both June and November — and asked for Buttigieg to be released from it, but says that so far it has not been agreed to by the company.

“The bulk of my work on these teams consisted of doing mathematical analysis, conducting research, and preparing presentations. I never worked on a project inconsistent with my values, and if asked to do so, I would have left the firm rather than participate,” he said.

Tracking Pete Buttigieg's rise from relatively unknown Midwestern mayor to Democratic presidential contenderVideo

The 37-year-old said in his statement that while some are calling on him to break the agreement, it is important to keep his commitment.

“Now more than ever, however, I also understand the American people deserve to know these kinds of details about their president's background in order to gain and hold that trust. So, I am asking McKinsey to do the right thing in the name of transparency,” he said.


In a press release, the campaign has provided a timeline of his work at the company, without getting into specifics barred by the NDA.

According to that timeline, Buttigieg worked in places ranging from Michigan, where he worked with a non-profit insurance provider in 2007, to California — where he worked with an environmental nonprofit group in 2009.

From 2008-2009, he worked in Connecticut on a project co-sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, other environmental groups and several utility companies.


The pressure is likely to remain on Buttigieg as he remains a top tier candidate. During a presidential forum in Waterloo Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suggested to Buttigieg, “You should break the NDA,” to distinguish himself from President Trump.

“It's not like I was the CEO,” he replied.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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