November 01, 2022 | Claire Jungman and Daniel Roth
On October 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice charged five Russian nationals and two oil traders over an alleged money laundering and global sanctions evasion scheme. A 12-count indictment was unsealed in a New York federal court, accusing the defendants of obtaining military technology from U.S. companies, smuggling millions of barrels of oil, and laundering tens of millions of dollars for Russian oligarchs and other sanctioned entities.
Juan Fernando Serrano Ponce and Juan Carlos Soto were charged for allegedly brokering illicit oil deals for Petroles de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. In June, President Maduro said, “we are more prepared and stronger to join together the strength of Iran and Venezuela into a truly extraordinary cooperation." So, it is no surprise that Serrano is connected to Iran through his company Treseus, which is registered under similar names in Spain, and the UAE. Via offices in Iran, Spain, and Italy, he imported saffron and, more significantly, petrochemical products from Iran.