Venezuelan oil joint ventures switch to Russian bank

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Russia's Gazprombank said on Sunday that PDVSA opened accounts with the bank several years ago and has not opened any accounts recently.

"The report by Reuters agency does not correspond with reality".

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA is telling customers of its oil joint ventures to deposit sales proceeds at an account it recently opened at Russia's Gazprombank AO, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters on Saturday.

This comes after reports of the United States being engaged in direct contact with members of Venezuela's military, encouraging them to pledge allegiance to self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, while also working on new sanctions to ramp up pressure on Nicolas Maduro.

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Bolivian President Evo Morales on Saturday slammed Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido over his remarks on a possible US military intervention into the crisis-hit nation. "But we stress that no new accounts were opened and are planned to be opened in the bank", the spokesman said.

Venezuela's self-proclaimed acting president Guaido on Friday refused to rule out the possibility of authorising United States intervention to help force President Nicolas Maduro from power and alleviate a humanitarian crisis. On the same day the United States recognized him as an interim president, and the countries of the Lima Group (excluding Mexico) and the Organization of American States followed suit.

"We would like to make formal your knowledge of new banking instructions to make payments in USA dollars or euros", wrote PDVSA's finance vice president, Fernando De Quintal, in a letter dated February 8 to the PDVSA unit that supervises its joint ventures. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.

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