(New throughout, adds individuals and companies targeted)
WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The United States imposed sanctions on Tuesday that target a Venezuelan currency exchange network scheme that siphoned billions of dollars to corrupt insiders of the Venezuelan government, the U.S. Treasury Department said.
It said the seven individuals targeted by the move include a former Venezuelan treasurer, Claudia Patricia Diaz Guillen, and Raul Antonio Gorrin Belisario, who bribed the Venezuelan Treasury in order to conduct illegal foreign exchange operations.
"Venezuelan regime insiders have plundered billions of dollars from Venezuela while the Venezuelan people suffer. Treasury is targeting this currency exchange network which was another illicit scheme that the Venezuelan regime had long used to steal from its people,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The U.S. Treasury said the former Venezuelan officials and other individuals used favorable foreign exchange transactions through brokerage firms controlled by Gorrin and among a few that were approved by the South American country's treasury. The individuals concealed their profits in U.S. and European bank accounts and investments, it said.
The U.S. Treasury statement cited 23 groups as being part of the scheme, including Globovision Tele in Caracas and Miami, Magus Holdings in Miami, Tindaya Properties in New York, Planet 2 Reaching Inc and Posh 8 Dynamic Inc, both of Delaware. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)