Last year, the Venezuelan government created the Petro, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Venezuelan officials have claimed that it will help to evade U.S. sanctions and authorized seven exchange houses to handle Petro transactions. The U.S. government sanctioned the currency, making it illegal for U.S. individuals or companies to buy or sell it. As a result, there has been speculation that the currency could facilitate illicit financial flows into and out of Venezuela.
Sayari’s new white paper investigates the seven cryptocurrency exchanges and their owners, including their previously unreported operations in the United States.
Key findings of the white paper include:
- While the U.S. government has sanctioned the Petro, it hasn’t targeted the exchanges authorized to deal in the cryptocurrency.
- These exchanges are part of a global network of blockchain companies, including companies with operations in the United States.
- Most of the individuals behind these exchanges have ties to key power centers in Venezuela.
- Several individuals linked to the exchanges have allegedly been involved in fraud in the United States and Venezuela.