Russian oil major warns of banning Reuters in Russia over Venezuela report

MOSCOW -- Russian oil giant Rosneft said Friday it intended to ask law enforcers to ban Reuters in Russia over its report suggesting that Rosneft had helped Venezuela to bypass U.S. sanctions.
 
"This structure is systematically engaged in creating and disseminating biased disinformation, legalizing rumors in the interests of its customers and inventing pretexts for damaging the Russian economy, Russian companies and the Russian state," Rosneft said in a statement.
 
On Thursday, Reuters published a report, quoting sources and documents it obtained, in which it said that "Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has started passing invoices from its oil sales to Rosneft."
 
"The Russian energy giant pays PDVSA immediately at a discount to the sale price -- avoiding the usual 30-to-90 day timeframe for completing oil transactions -- and collects the full amount later from the buyer," Reuters reported.
 
Since January, after Washington imposed tough restrictions on PDVSA, the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been in talks with Moscow about ways to circumvent a ban on clients paying PDVSA in dollars, Reuters said.
 
Rosneft itself has been under U.S. sanctions since 2014, but it continues to operate successfully, although former U.S. partners of Rosneft were forced by Washington to curtail cooperation with it.
 
Russia has repeatedly said the U.S. sanctions are illegal.
 
Venezuela has been plunged into a political crisis since Jan. 23 when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president and was recognized by the United States and some other countries.
 
Washington has stepped up pressure on Maduro by backing Guaido and piling financial and economic sanctions against Venezuela and its state-owned oil company.
 
Reuters

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