US sanctions target Venezuela’s food aid program with corruption

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on 10 people and 13 groups on a subsidized food distribution program in Venezuela that President Nicolas Maduro, his cousins ​​and others have made significant gains while citizens suffer from food shortages, the Treasury Department said.

The ministry said a Colombian citizen named Alex Naen Saab had run a widespread corruption network to import and distribute food in Venezuela. It made gains from overvalued contracts including the government subsidized food program.

Seagal B. Mandelkar, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Saab paid bribes to Maduro’s three sons to win government contracts that were more than their real value without bidding.

“The Treasury Department is targeting those behind the complex corruption programs of Maduro, as well as the global network of bogus companies that make profits from the Army-run food distribution program,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

According to the ministry, SABB became a participant in the food aid program in 2016 when he founded a company to get food from outside the country and ship it to Venezuela.

SABB made profits and only a fraction of the food needed for the subsidized food program was reported.

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