Robert Menendez, the US Senator wants Washington to take action against Venezuela’s newly launched oil-backed cryptocurrency, petro. The Democrat has raised his concern and has been vocal against petro coin in the past as well.
US Senate, Robert Menendez calls for a crackdown on “Petro coin”
Last week, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro launched the much-awaited oil backed cryptocurrency, Petro and claimed to have a successful first day opening with $735 million. The move has been his attempt to bypass the US sanctions and fight the hyperinflation rampant in Venezuela.
However, petro has certainly raised the hackles of US Senate. Last month, Senators Marco Rubio (R.-FL) and Bob Menendez (D.-NJ) wrote a letter to Treasury department asking to monitor the progress of petro. It further talked about how this oil-backed currency can breach the US sanctions.
The Senators wrote:
“We are concerned that a cryptocurrency could provide Maduro a mechanism by which to make payments to foreign lenders and bondholders in the United States, actions that would clearly thwart the intent of US imposed sanctions.”
Later on, the Senator Robert Menendez again urged the officials to take action against petro. During the hearing of Senate Committee, where chairman of CFTC Giancarlo and SEC chairman jay Clayton talked about virtual currency, Menendez raised the issue again. In response, Giancarlo said that his agency would keep a careful watch on the petro currency for any signs indicating that it is to circumvent the US sanction and defraud the customers of the US.
The US Senator is certainly not done with his concerns as it can be seen in the statement of the US Treasury Department that was published in January. The statement stated that “a currency with these characteristics would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government.” With “extension of credit” being prohibited by an executive order that is duly signed by US president, this certainly can be a point of concern for Venezuela’s petro.
As per the Treasury Department:
“US persons that deal with the prospective Venezuelan digital currency may be exposed to US sanctions risk.”
Subsequently, a spokesperson of Mendez also mentioned that:
“We continue to look for ways to prevent the Maduro regime from brazenly evading US sanctions and plan to follow up with the Department of Treasury following their issuing of these guidelines.”
It’s yet to be seen what action will be taken by the US government. What are your views on Venezuela’s news about Petro coin and US’s take on it? Let us know your thoughts below!