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US hits Venezuelan officials with sanctions over economic woes, corruption

The U.S. Treasury Department unveiled new sanctions targeting four Venezuelan government officials accused of corruption and mismanaging the economy of the oil-producing nation.

Among those slapped with sanctions were Nelson Reinaldo Lepaje Salazar, the acting head of the office of the national treasury, and Willian Antonio Contreras, internal commerce vice minister and head of the agency responsible for imposing price controls.

The sanctioned individuals also include Americo Alex Mata Garcia, an alternate director on the board of the National Bank of Housing and Habitat, and Carlos Alberto Rotondaro Cova, former president of the board of directors of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security.

Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly released estimates on March 12 showing that prices in the country surged 6,147% in the 12 months to the end of February, according to Reuters.

The Treasury said U.S. individuals are not allowed to deal with the targeted Venezuelan officials, whose assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction will also be frozen.

Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting the purchase of cryptocurrency sold by the Venezuelan government.