UPDATED 25/08/2020 - Sources have informed this site that Reliance may be lifting up to eight cargoes in August (four have already been lifted). When this site put the question to a senior official with the Trump administration, whether Reliance had obtained a waiver / OFAC license, reply was in the negative. Whatever the case, Nicolas Maduro has cracked it. Even with Alex Saab in jail Cape Verde, Saab's people continue running the show. A Jackson Suarez, Saab's trader, liaises with Saab's Mexican partners (Axel Capriles & co), who are behind new players (Xiamen Logistic Grass, Shamrium, Novosi Solutions, Ztianjin Business). These are all disposable shells, used for a couple of cargoes and shut down. Then, there is Manuel Salvador Parra, as per sources close to "Nicolasito" (Nicolas Ernesto Maduro, i.e. Maduro's son), who is in charge of ensuring that all deals linked to Saab's network stay well off PDVSA's books: no entries in the books, no records in SAP.
Bills of lading are not being issued by PDVSA, but by agents like Jackson Suarez, sometimes with tanker masters. That is the shipper is the local agent, and the consignee is just a sailor. This does away with paper trail that could elicit threats from U.S. Treasury, and gives PDVSA enough room to do their StSs over there in Straits of Malacca, or wherever else, under cloak of absolute anonymity. In addition, new maritime agencies in Venezuela are being registered by Cuban agents (Soluciones, Desarrollo and Dominio), brought in to prevent further leaks, like this one.
We have heard rumours that secondary sanctions are a go, and will target Reliance, Spain's Repsol and Italy's ENI. Announcements to that effect may be coming soon from U.S. Treasury. In any case, Maduro isn't going anywhere and it appears to be outsmarting Donald Trump. While Reliance, Repsol and ENI may have a lot to lose, Maduro's dodgy Mexicans, Cubans and Venezuelan partners are basically non-sanctionable parties, specially if they're hidden behind local agents and unknown individuals.
@USTreasury @TheJusticeDept: keep an eye on this individual, Slimen el Safadi (Cuban allegedly), part of sanctions-avoiding, off-@PDVSA-books network of #AlexSaab and @NicolasMaduro #OOTT https://t.co/FPFzDzNTTO pic.twitter.com/rma71HBlF9
— Alek Boyd “Plagiarism is corruption” (@infodi0) August 23, 2020