17 Jul 2019
Venezuela’s government is studying the possibility of switching to a Russian-operated international payments messaging system as an alternative to SWIFT as part of preparations for an uptick in U.S. sanctions, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Venezuelan central bank officials have requested information from their Russian counterparts to have an alternative system in place if sanctions bar them from SWIFT, a move that could further cripple the nation’s fragile finances, one of the people said. Even if Venezuela decided to move its transactions onto the alternative platform, approval from Russia’s central bank is required, the other person said.
Press officials for the Venezuelan and Russian central banks didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. SWIFT, the Belgium-based cross-border payment system operator, declined to comment.
By Patricia Laya and Anna Andrianova, Bloomberg, 16 July 2019
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