Three companies based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have helped export millions of barrels of crude oil and fuel produced by state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) since the US imposed stifling sanctions on Venezuela in June, a Reuters reported has discovered.
The news service said the companies; Muhit Maritime, Issa Shipping FZE and Asia Charm Ltd helped export $208.5 million worth of Venezuelan oil – 3.9 per cent of the country's total oil exports in 2020 through to 18 December.
The companies took over the management of several tankers that had been shipping Venezuelan oil, changed their names and continued transporting Venezuelan crude shortly after the sanctions were imposed.
Responding to Reuters, the UAE government said it was conducting "a thorough and comprehensive investigation into Muhit Maritime, Issa Shipping and Asia Charm using recent legislative changes designed to improve corporate transparency through a framework for reporting and registering beneficial ownership."
"The UAE takes its role in protecting the integrity of the global financial system extremely seriously. This means actively administering and enforcing economic and trade sanctions," it added.
A representative of the Fujairah Free Zone, where Issa Shipping and Asia Charm are based, told the agency that he was not aware of the two companies' involvement in transporting Venezuelan oil, adding that the authority is not responsible for policing the activities of companies registered there.
Earlier this year, Washington imposed sanctions on several UAE-based companies involved in selling Iranian oil despite US restrictions.