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“The Fed worries about its reputational exposure, just like anybody else does,” said David Murray, a vice president at the Washington-based Financial Integrity Network and a former Treasury Department official. A spokeswoman for the New York Fed did not respond to requests for comment. The decision will only affect Puerto Rican banks that had pending applications with the Fed and will not affect the 17 of Puerto Rico’s 80 offshore banks that the Fed’s website shows already have Fedwire accounts. Reuters was unable to determine how many banks were awaiting responses on their applications to open accounts.

The move to suspend account approvals shows how U.S, sanctions on Venezuela, which are meant to force socialist President Nicolas Maduro from office amid a political crisis and an economic meltdown, are having a ripple effect white and silver knot stud set cufflinks in other parts of the global financial system, It could deal a blow to Puerto Rico, which has been using the offshore sector as an economic development strategy as it struggles with a crushing debt load and the impact of natural disasters such as 2017’s Hurricane Maria..

The island has for years nurtured its offshore banking sector by offering tax incentives to bank owners and promoting direct access to the U.S. financial system through the Fed rather than correspondent banks, which charge for their services and can end the relationship at a moment’s notice. Offshore banking lets individuals and companies deposit money outside their countries of residence in order to legally lower tax bills, but criminal investigations and multilateral organizations have alleged it is also used for tax evasion and money laundering.

The notice also applies to U.S, Virgin Islands offshore banks, Both territories fall under the jurisdiction of the Fed’s New York branch, George Joyner, the commissioner of white and silver knot stud set cufflinks Puerto Rico’s banking regulator, declined to say how many of the territory’s offshore banks had applications pending with the Fed, He said the island regulator used the same standards as federal authorities including the Fed to supervise financial institutions, and that anti-money laundering was a “high focus.”..

“Our office fully shares everything that we find in our examinations, and we share it with all the federal agencies,” Joyner said in a telephone interview. He said “a number” of Puerto Rican offshore banks had been created with Venezuelan capital, without elaborating. The Virgin Islands’ director of banking and insurance did not respond to requests for comment. Sixteen of Puerto Rico’s 80 offshore banking and financial services firms are owned by Venezuelan individuals or companies, according to a Reuters review of their websites, corporate registry records, and directors’ LinkedIn pages and personal websites.

Several marketed directly to Venezuelan clients, or had past deals with the Venezuelan government, while twelve of the sixteen had Fedwire white and silver knot stud set cufflinks accounts, according to the Federal Reserve’s website, Fedwire, a funds transfer system controlled by the Fed, allows banks, businesses and government agencies to send and receive payments in real time, In recent years, U.S, prosecutors have examined the role Puerto Rico’s offshore banks have played in efforts to launder Venezuelan funds through the United States, It was not clear if the two cases in question contributed to the New York Fed’s decision to halt the opening of new accounts, but one source at a Puerto Rican bank and industry consultant David Nissman said they were likely an important factor, Joyner said they “certainly didn’t help.”..

Federal prosecutors in a sprawling corruption probe unsealed in July of 2018 charged Uruguayan national Marcelo Gutierrez with allegedly conspiring to launder funds embezzled from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA through a “bank in Puerto Rico” that he owned, according to criminal investigation filings in Florida federal court. The prosecutors’ complaint does not identify the bank and says the transaction never took place. Gutierrez’s LinkedIn profile lists him as a director at Vestin Bank International, which Puerto Rico banking regulator records show received a license to operate as an offshore operation on the island in 2015.

Vestin has since been acquired by Asia-focused Standard International Bank and Gutierrez has not been a shareholder since August of 2018, Standard said in a statement, adding that it had no links to Vestin’s prior business, no ties to Venezuela and no plans to enter the Venezuelan market, Bruce Udolf, a Florida-based defense attorney for Gutierrez, said, “We expect to respond with a vigorous defense to those charges, We are hopeful that he will be vindicated at trial.”, In February, the FBI raided Puerto Rican offshore bank Banco San Juan International (BSJI) white and silver knot stud set cufflinks as part of a probe of money laundering and evasion of Venezuela-related sanctions, special agent Douglas Leff told reporters at the time, A spokesman for the FBI San Juan field office declined to provide further details..

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