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Report: Russia behind Venezuela's cryptocurrency

President Donald Trump at a White House meeting. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

Russian government officials and businessmen helped Venezuela launch the world's first state-issued cryptocurrency last month, which is intended to help sidestep U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, TIME reports, citing anonymous officials familiar with the issue.

The backdrop: TIME's report comes a day after President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting U.S. citizens from buying the newly created 'Petro.’

The details: An unnamed Russian state bank executive, who handles cryptocurrencies matters, said senior government advisers have overseen the Venezuela plan, which President Vladimir Putin signed off on last year.

  • TIME also reports that Maduro’s Russian advisers, Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky, who both have major ties to Russian banks and billionaires, were at the launch of the digital currency last month.

The Russian government denied TIME's report, with the Finance Ministry saying none of Russia's financial authorities were involved in the petro's creation. Venezuelan officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper with the TIME investigation.