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Trump administration sanctions 4 companies for Venezuelan oil ties

Trump administration sanctions 4 companies for Venezuelan oil ties
The Trump administration Tuesday announced sanctions against four oil tanker companies for doing business with the Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro, shown here at a protest in Caracas on March 23, 2019. Photo by Prensa Miraflores/EPA-EFE

June 2 (UPI) -- The Trump administration Tuesday sanctioned four companies and their oil tankers for conducting business with the Venezuelan government under embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control named three companies based in the Marshall Islands and one in Greece. The Marshall Islands companies include Afranav Maritime, which operates the Athens Voyager; Adamant Maritime, which operates the Seahero tanker; and Sanibel Shiptrade, which operates the Voyager I.

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The Greece-based Seacomber, which operates the Chios I, was also sanctioned.

"The illegitimate Maduro regime has enlisted the help of maritime companies and their vessels to continue the exploitation of Venezuela's natural resources for the regime's profit," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "The United States will continue to target those who support this corrupt regime and contribute to the suffering of the Venezuelan people."

The sanctions block the companies from accessing all of its property and interests in the United States or possessions in the control of people in the United States.

The Trump administration started sanctioning the Maduro regime after his 2018 election, which the United States and its Western allies deemed his re-election as illegitimate. They have thrown their support behind opposition leader Juan Guaido.

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In April, Trump offered to lift sanctions if Maduro and the opposition party created an interim transitional government until a free and fair presidential election could be held.

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