Recently, the Venezuelan government launched a bespoke cryptocurrency tied to the country’s oil production. Concocted by Venezuelan President Maduro, the Petro Crypto has been slammed as a feeble attempt to skirt the hyper inflation that Maduro’s policies have caused. Swirling around the latin saga was a claim that Russia covertly aided Maduro in launching the cryptocurrency.
According to a report in Time;
“According to an executive at a Russian state bank who deals with cryptocurrencies, senior advisers to the Kremlin have overseen the effort in Venezuela, and President Vladimir Putin signed off on it last year. “People close to Putin, they told him this is how to avoid the sanctions,” says the executive, who spoke to TIME on condition of anonymity. ‘This is how the whole thing started.'”
This should really come as no surprise to anyone. The Putin government has never been one not to seize an opportunity to gain influence in another country to the detriment of US policy.
But late last week, a Russian official labeled the Time Magazine report fake news. Of course.
Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Artyom Kozhin was quoted in Tass;
“We homed in on a fake news story published by Time magazine and others that are popping up nowadays like mushrooms after a spring rain, claiming that they had a front-page exclusive on the alleged Russian origin of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency – the Petro. Undoubtedly, this exclusive report on the alleged involvement of Russian authorities in the inception of the Petro is a blatant lie. In no way, have the Russian financial authorities ever participated in this project…”
Last week, the White House and the US Department of Treasury both came out with statements regarding Venezuela’s Petro Crypto. The White House issued an executive order banning anyone in the US from participating or purchasing the cryptocurrency. Treasury moved forward with sanctions on multiple Venezuelan officials.
Meanwhile, President Maduro called the US actions a “shameful, illegal, absurd decree.”