Several Venezuelan officials who are under U.S. sanctions have held leadership or directorship roles at a designated economic and social development bank, as well as some of its subsidiaries.
The parent bank, state-owned Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social (BANDES) was established to promote economic development and growth by providing services such as monetary intermediation and credit, as well as security and commodity contracts brokerage services, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. BANDES, which was sanctioned in March 2019, is subordinate to Venezuela’s Ministry of Economy and Finance.
BANDES controls four other banks, which were also sanctioned by the U.S. last March: Uruguay-based Banco Bandes Uruguay SA; Bolivia-based Banco Prodem SA; and Venezuela-based Banco Bicentenario del Pueblo, de la Clase Obrera, Mujer y Comunias, Banco Universal CA and Banco de Venezuela, S.A. Banco Universal.
Some of the Venezuelan officials holding leadership positions at these banks were separately sanctioned for supporting the regime of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. Other bank executives have not been sanctioned.
“The willingness of Maduro’s inner-circle to exploit Venezuela’s institutions knows no bounds. Regime insiders have transformed BANDES and its subsidiaries into vehicles to move funds abroad in an attempt to prop up Maduro,” acccording to the Treasury designation statement.
The Venezuelan officials that hold leadership positions at BANDES and its subsidiaries fit the typography of members of the Boliburguesia, a term for business and political elite of Venezuela who accrue wealth and power through simultaneously maintaining positions in government, state-controlled entities and private commercial enterprises.
Simon Alejandro Zerpa Delgado, who was sanctioned on July 26, 2017 for “undermining democracy” in Venezuela is the minister of economy and finance, and serves as president of the board and chief executive of BANDES. He also serves as the principal director of BANDES subsidiary Banco Prodem SA.
Iliana Josefa Ruzza Teran, sanctioned on April 17 as a current or former official of the Venezuelan government, is a member of the board of directors for the Venezuelan Department of Foreign Commerce (CORPOVEX) and serves as the executive finance manager for BANDES.
Other Venezuelan officials hold concurrent leadership positions at the BANDES subsidiaries.
Cerecita Olavarrieta Aguirregomezcorta, superintendent of the Venezuela National Superintendency of Internal Auditing, serves as a member of the auditing committee and as an alternate director on the board of Banco Bandes Uruguay, SA, according to its website. Abrahan Deivis Landaeta Parra, vice minister for complementary financial systems of the Venezuelan Ministry of Economy and Finance, is the alternate vice president of Banco Bandes Uruguay, S.A. according to its website. Landaeta Parra also serves as the Executive Development Funds Manager for BANDES, according to Bankers Almanac data for BANDES.