Bulgaria freezes accounts of Venezuelan state oil firm after Washington ‘tip-off’

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Authorities in Bulgaria have blocked transfers out of bank accounts belonging to Venezuelan state-controlled energy corporation PDVSA, according to Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov.

Sofia apparently received information about transfers made by the Venezuelan oil giant, via its accounts in Bulgaria, to reportedly channel the money elsewhere. Washington was the key source of the information, according to Tsatsarov.

The top official stressed that Venezuelan funds were partially transferred to some other countries and Bulgarian law-enforcement agencies were suspicious about where the funds were headed. Caracas reportedly used the funds for backing some sports federations, purchasing food supplies, and other humanitarian projects.

Bulgarian authorities are set to decide whether to open a criminal case into money laundering after a complete inspection of transfer details.

“We have established that there were money transfers from Venezuela, namely from the state oil company of Venezuela to these accounts,” the top official said during a joint press conference with US Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Rubin, as quoted by Bulgarian news agency BTA.

“All measures have been taken so that the funds that are still in the accounts, which are not in small amounts, will be fully under our control and not leave the country on false grounds.”

The mentioned transactions included several million euros, according to the chief of Bulgaria’s domestic security agency DANS Dimitar Georgiev.

Last week, Bulgaria’s government expressed support for its partners in the European Union, who had previously recognized Venezuela’s self-declared president Juan Guaido.

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