Venezuela Defies Sanctions to Sell $40 Million in Gold Reserves

© Bloomberg. Gold bars sit in a stack as an employee pours molten fine gold into an ingot mold during gold bar production at Oegussa GmbH’s gold and silver separating plant, a unit of Umicore SA, in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. The Swiss central bank’s surprise move to abandon the franc’s cap against the euro sent investors rushing to gold as a haven from swings in currencies.

(Bloomberg) — Venezuela sold about $40 million worth of gold last week, defying numerous U.S. sanctions that threaten to cut off Nicolas Maduro’s autocratic regime, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The central bank sold nearly one ton of gold July 12, lowering Venezuela’s dollar reserves to a near three-decade low of $8.1 billion, the people said. While sanctions increasingly cut off Venezuela from the global financial system, Maduro has been selling gold to firms in places such as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, reaching approximately 24 tons of gold in sales since the beginning of April.

A central bank press official didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the sales.

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control included the Venezuelan central bank in its list of sanctioned entities in April, hoping to stop the lucrative trading Maduro has been using to keep the military loyal to his regime.

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