On December 9, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Venezuelan officials Gustavo Adolfo Vizcaíno Gil and Juan Carlos Dugarte Padrón, both members of the Nicolás Maduro regime, over their alleged participation in acts of corruption.
In a press release, the U.S. Department of the Treasury indicated that during his tenure as general director of the Venezuelan government’s Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Foreigners (SAIME, in Spanish), Dugarte (who was appointed in April 2016), had accepted bribes and was publicly implicated in corrupt dealings involving the sale of passports.
The press release also adds that in June 2018, Vizcaíno was appointed as the new general director of SAIME, replacing Dugarte, and that since the fall of 2018, SAIME officials and Vizcaíno have been involved in acts of corruption, charging passport applicants thousands of dollars and transferring those funds to foreign personal bank accounts.
According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, SAIME, under Vizcaíno’s administration, sold passports to non-Venezuelan citizens for thousands of dollars, and the entity’s personnel were members of illegitimate armed groups known as “colectivos,” which answer to Maduro.
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, by 50 percent or more by them, individually or with other designated persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or in the control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury],” said the press release.
The sanctions were announced as part of International Anti-corruption Day, observed on December 9, by a United Nations decree.
According to the press release, “the United States will continue to support the people of Venezuela, Interim President [Juan] Guaidó, and the National Assembly.”