Court unfreezes accounts of Mexican firm sanctioned by U.S.
21 Sep 2020

A Mexican court has unfrozen the bank accounts of a local company blacklisted by the United States for trading in oil with Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA despite U.S. sanctions, Mexico’s anti-money laundering unit said on Saturday.

In a statement, Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) said it disagreed with the decision by a local judge to unfreeze Libre Abordo’s bank accounts and said it had filed an appeal.

Libre Abordo and its related company Schlager Business Group threw a lifeline to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro late last year by signing a deal to trade its crude and fuel in return for Mexican corn and water trucks.

The companies said the oil-for-food deal did not violate U.S. sanctions imposed on PDVSA in January 2019.

However, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted both companies in June, accusing them of helping Maduro’s administration evade sanctions. The UIF, part of Mexico’s finance ministry, said the following day it had frozen the bank accounts of both companies.

By Stefanie Eschenbacher and Ana Isabel Martinez, Reuters, 20 September 2020

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