“But that’s a lie,” said Russ Dallen, head of investment bank Caracas Capital Markets. “At some point they even said they had sold $5 billion, the number steadily going up from an initial $800 million in pre-sales. Those numbers are simply not credible.”
“The Petro is a desperate effort by a corrupt regime to defraud international investors,” a senior U.S. administration official told reporters back in March.
“Investing in the Petro should be viewed as directly supporting this dictatorship and its attempts to undermine the democratic order in Venezuela,” the official added.
If the Petro worked, it would be an ideal way of avoiding the sanctions and of laundering any funds obtained through corruption and drug trafficking, Dallen said, noting that key members of the Venezuelan regime have already been described as drug lords by the U.S. government.
“It would do two things for them. One, they would be able to raise money, creating something from nothing, and two, it is a non-regulated area where they can trade and transfer money anywhere they want without being watched by the world’s financial and law enforcement officials,” Dallen said.
“If you are a corrupt regime, this is the perfect instrument to launder money. You can mix bad money into good money, and pluck it out in the other end, and nobody will be able to tell the difference between the good and the bad,” he said.