The United States announced Tuesday that it will increase pressure against Colombian businessman Alex Saab for his role in the food plan of the Venezuelan government, sanctioning three of its partners and blacklisting 16 related entities in Colombia, Panama and Italy.
“This action increases the pressure on Alex Saab and his network, which has benefited from the hunger of the Venezuelan people and facilitated systemic corruption in Venezuela”, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The Treasury also informed that these people, of Colombian nationality, were included in the OFAC list. David Rubio González, also Colombian, was sanctioned.
Following full statement from the Treasury Department:
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated three individuals and 16 entities for their connections to Alex Nain Saab Moran (Alex Saab) and his business partner, Alvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas (Alvaro Pulido), who have enabled former President Nicolás Maduro (Maduro) and his illegitimate regime to corruptly profit from imports of food aid and distribution in Venezuela. The individuals designated today include Alex Saab’s two brothers, Amir Luis Saab Moran (Amir Saab) and Luis Alberto Saab Moran (Luis Saab), as well as Alvaro Pulido’s son, David Enrique Rubio Gonzalez (Rubio). The 16 entities designated today are owned or controlled by the aforementioned individuals or Alex Saab himself.
“This action increases pressure on Alex Saab and his network, which have profited off the hunger of the Venezuelan people and facilitate systemic corruption in Venezuela,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Treasury will continue to target those who corruptly profit at the expense of the Venezuelan people.”
OFAC designated Alex Saab and Alvaro Pulido on July 25, 2019 for their involvement in a large-scale network of corruption to obtain valuable business contracts with the Government of Venezuela. The most notable of these overvalued contracts was with the Government’s food subsidy program titled the Local Committees for Supply and Production, or Los Comités Locales de Abastecimiento y Producción, commonly known as CLAP. Alex Saab was able to obtain CLAP-related, no-bid, and overvalued contracts from senior Venezuelan political figures through a global network of front and shell companies. Rather than ensure that Venezuela’s vulnerable population receives the food it desperately needs, the regime uses the CLAP program as a means of social control to reward political support and punish criticism.
The individuals designated today pursuant to E.O. 13850, as amended, are immediate adult family members of, and had business ties to, Alex Saab or Alvaro Pulido, two individuals who are responsible for or complicit in, or have directly or indirectly engaged in, any deceptive or corrupt transaction or series of transactions with the Government of Venezuela or projects or programs administered by the Government of Venezuela:
• Amir Luis Saab Moran (Amir Saab) has been involved in multiple business ventures with his brother, Alex Saab, most notably the Panama-based Seafire Foundation, which was designated on July 25, 2019, for its involvement in Alex Saab’s corruption network. As of early 2018, Amir Saab was in charge of the administrations of various companies owned or controlled by Alex Saab. Four companies owned or controlled by Amir Saab in Colombia and Panama are being designated as a result of today’s action.
• Luis Alberto Saab Moran (Luis Saab) has been involved in multiple business ventures with his brothers, Alex Saab and Amir Saab. Eight companies owned or controlled by Luis Saab across Latin America and Europe are being designated as a result of today’s action.
• David Nicolas Rubio Gonzalez (Rubio) is the son of Alvaro Pulido and brother of Emmanuel Enrique Rubio Gonzalez, who were previously designated on July 25, 2019. Rubio is a Director at Global Structure, S.A. and an Assistant Manager at C I Fondo Global De Alimentos LTDA. Both of these companies were designated on July 25, 2019. Three additional companies owned or controlled by Rubio in Colombia and Panama are being designated today.
The following companies were designated today for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Amir Saab, Luis Saab, Rubio, or Alex Saab:
• Fundacion Venedig (Panama)
• Inversiones Rodime S.A. (Panama)
• Saafartex Zona Franca SAS (Colombia)
• Venedig Capital S.A.S. (Colombia)
• AGRO XPO S.A.S. (Colombia)
• Alamo Trading S.A. (Colombia)
• Antiqua Del Caribe S.A.S. (Colombia)
• Avanti Global Group S.A.S. (Colombia)
• Global Energy Company S.A.S. (Colombia)
• Gruppo Domano S.R.L. (Italy)
• Manara S.A.S. (Colombia)
• Techno Energy, S.A. (Panama)
• Corporacion ACS Trading S.A.S. (Colombia)
• Dimaco Technology, S.A. (Panama)
• Global De Textiles Andino S.A.S. (Colombia)
• Saab Certain & Compania S. En C. (Colombia)
OFAC closely coordinated these actions with the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center, among other U.S. government partners.
As a result of these actions, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities designated today, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by those individuals or entities, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property of blocked or designated persons.
U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to change behavior. The United States has made it clear that we will consider lifting sanctions for persons designated under E.O. 13850, as amended, who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, speak out against abuses committed by the Government of Venezuela, and combat corruption in Venezuela.
For additional information about the methods that Venezuelan senior political figures, their associates, and front persons use to move and hide corrupt proceeds, including how they try to exploit the U.S. financial system and real estate market, please refer to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) advisories FIN-2019-A002, “Updated Advisory on Widespread Public Corruption in Venezuela;” FIN-2017-A006, “Advisory on Widespread Public Corruption in Venezuela;” FIN-2017-A003, “Advisory to Financial Institutions and Real Estate Firms and Professionals;” and FIN-2018-A003, “Advisory on Human Rights Abuses Enabled by Corrupt Senior Foreign Political Figures and their Financial Facilitators.”