UBS Avoids Sanctions, Cuts Ties with Millionaire Chavista Clients

The financial institution's decision comes amid international sanctions against the tyrannical regime in Venezuela

Clients of UBS AG had links to the state oil company PDVSA and the regime in Venezuela (Flickr).

Spanish – The financial company UBS decided to cut ties with Venezuelan millionaires in the United States, who are associated with the Nicolás Maduro regime.

A report by Bloomberg revealed that many of UBS AG’s clients had links to the state oil company PDVSA and the regime in Venezuela.

UBS AG is a Swiss financial services company based in Zurich, Switzerland. It is a private investment bank. According to Bloomberg, it managed up to three billion USD in assets for Venezuelans in the United States, who are friends of the regime.

The financial institution’s decision comes amid international sanctions against the tyrannical regime in Venezuela, whereby administrations, including that of Donald Trump, prohibit business with Chavista officials.

Sources told Bloomberg that the bank conducted a thorough review and decided that some relationships did not warrant compliance risks: “At least 17 advisors in the United States with Venezuelan clients have left UBS in the last nine months, according to publicly available persons and documents. Those that remain are asked to intensify their due diligence on Venezuelan clients and their funds.”

Venezuela has become a “pebble in the shoe” for financial institutions in the United States since they must be careful not to violate international sanctions to avoid paying billions of dollars in fines.

Banks on U.S. soil are not the only ones who must be vigilant about their customers’ relations with the Maduro regime. Stores such as Amazon have already been fined for violating international sanctions. In July, it was revealed that the online store agreed to pay 134,523 USD to settle “its potential civil liability for apparent violations of multiple OFAC sanctions programs.”

A statement from the Treasury Departed notes that Amazon provided goods and services to persons sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), located in sanctioned regions or countries of Crimea, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.

Advisors linked to Chavismo moved away from the bank

According to Bloomberg, several advisors who would have been reprimanded by UBS decided to migrate from a financial institution to Raymond James Financial Inc, which, it seems, is not as strict in its oversight of relations with Chavismo:

“Seven of them, who together managed just over $1 billion in Latin American client assets, moved to Raymond James Financial Inc., according to company press releases.”

“We maintain enhanced AML and supervisory controls over our offshore business, which are heightened for certain countries, including specialized policies and due diligence processes for clients with ties to Venezuela,” a company spokesman told Bloomberg.

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