(Adds no comment from Goldman Sachs)
CARACAS May 29 The president of Venezuela's
opposition-run Congress on Monday accused Wall Street investment
bank Goldman Sachs of "aiding and abetting the country's
dictatorial regime" following a report that it had bought $2.8
billion in bonds from the cash-strapped country.
The Wall Street Journal on Sunday said Goldman paid 31 cents
on the dollar for bonds issued by state oil company PDVSA that
mature in 2022, or around $865 million, citing five people
familiar with the transaction.
That comes as two months of opposition protests against
President Nicolas Maduro have killed almost 60 people and the
collapse of the country's socialist economy has left millions of
people struggling to eat.
"Goldman Sachs' financial lifeline to the regime will serve
to strengthen the brutal repression unleashed against the
hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans peacefully protesting for
political change in the country," wrote Julio Borges in a letter
to Goldman Sachs President Lloyd Blankfein.
"Given the unconstitutional nature of Nicolas Maduro's
administration, its unwillingness to hold democratic elections
and its systematic violation of human rights, I am dismayed that
Goldman Sachs decided to enter this transaction."
The letter adds that Congress will open an investigation
into the transaction and that he will recommend "to any future
democratic government of Venezuela not to recognize or pay these
A Goldman Sachs spokesman said the bank declined to comment.
Venezuela's Information Ministry, which fields queries on
behalf of the Finance Ministry, did not respond to requests for
The bonds were not sold directly by Venezuela's central bank
but rather through an intermediary, three finance industry
sources, including one from Goldman, told Reuters on Monday.
"The intermediaries are in Europe," said the source at
With Venezuela's inefficient state-led economic model
struggling under lower oil prices, Maduro's unpopular government
has become ever more dependent on financial deals or asset sales
to bring in coveted foreign exchange.
Venezuela's international reserves rose by $749 million on
Thursday and Friday, reaching around $10.86 billion. That is
still down around 50 percent in the last three years.
(Reporting by Corina Pons; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing
by Alexandra Ulmer and Sandra Maler)