US sanctions target Nicaragua's Bancorp, Bolton says

U.S. sanctions Laureano Ortega

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Daniel Ortega

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - National security adviser John Bolton announced Wednesday in Coral Gables that the United States will be penalizing the Banco Corporativo S.A., or Bancorp, which the U.S. had already sanctioned over transactions with Venezuela's state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., or PDVSA. 

Bolton said Bancorp is Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's "slush fund" and also announced new sactions against Ortega's son Laureano Ortega.

"Trump has called for early, free and fair elections to give the Nicaraguan people a true voice, a vote in their future, and to restore democracy and the rule of law," Bolton wrote on Twitter after his speech. 

Alba de Nicaragua, or Albanisa, which U.S. authorities believe is a joint venture between Petroleos de Nicaragua and PDVSA, created Bancorp in 2015. 

"We are going after the pocketbooks of Ortega’s family, who continue to live off the misery of the Nicaraguan people," Bolton wrote

Bolton said Laureano Ortega is being "groomed as his successor" and accused him of being involved in "vast corruption under the guise of leading Nicaragua's investment agency."

In anticipation of the sanctions, Sandinista National Liberation Front lawmakers authorized the Nicaraguan government to purchase Bancorp for $23 million last month

The U.S. already issued sanctions against Ortega's wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

The U.S. has accused the Ortegas and their supporters of corruption and human rights abuses.

 

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