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The continually escalating U.S. sanctions on Venezuela have created problems for more than just the country's president and his inner circle. They are creating "new compliance risks for U.S. and international financial institutions," the Wall Street Journal's Mengqi Sun writes.

Why it matters: Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA, which has been the target of some sanctions, has many subsidiaries and outsources much of its business to third-party vendors. That means banks are picking over transactions and potential customers with a fine-tooth comb, said Daniel Gutierrez, who chairs the anti-money-laundering compliance committee at the Florida International Bankers Association.

  • Banks are responsible for vetting their customers to ensure they don't have relationships with people or companies on the sanctions list and to flag and block questionable transactions.

The big picture: "The question the industry has is how far down that outsourcing chain do I have to go to determine if I have a sanction on Venezuela or not," Gutierrez said.

  • The deep connections between the U.S. and Venezuela in the oil industry goes much deeper than simply paying for gas. The sanctions can affect automobile and heavy machinery manufacturing, as well as elements of insurance and finance, said Cari Stinebower, a sanctions lawyer at Crowell & Moring LLP, tells WSJ.
  • "Anyone that touches the petroleum industry is affected by the sanctions, " Stinebower said.

Go deeper: U.S. sanctions Venezuela's state oil company in push for regime change

Go deeper

9 mins ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. State of play: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead.
  2. Politics: Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response with 10 executive actions — Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
  4. Vaccine: Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.