16 Aug 2019
Ziraat Bank, Turkey’s largest bank by assets, has stopped offering services to Venezuela’s Central Bank in wake of tougher U.S. sanctions that raise the stakes for companies that do business with the Caribbean nation.
The Ankara-based state bank confirmed the closing of its account without providing further details. Venezuela’s Central Bank was relying on Ziraat to pay contractors, move money and import products in Turkish liras. A Venezuela Central Bank press official didn’t respond to requests for comment.
U.S. sanctions, which were strengthened this month, threaten institutions that do business with Venezuela with exile from the global financial system. Still, Ziraat’s decision came as a surprise to staff inside Venezuela’s Central Bank, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly expressed his support for President Nicolas Maduro and visited the country as recently as December.
By Patricia Laya and Cagan Koc, Bloomberg, 15 August 2019
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