The U.S. Department of State and Treasury Department on Friday took action against a Venezuelan election systems company for supporting socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro's allegedly fraudulent Dec. 6 legislative elections.
Ex-Cle C.A. is a biometric technology company that operates in Venezuela as the subsidiary of Argentine-registered Ex-Cle S.A. According to the company's website, it designs systems that use biometrics to identify and verify citizens when they vote, while the Treasury Department said the firm "has been doing business as the electoral hardware and software vendor with Maduro regime-aligned government agencies and officials."
"They shipped the voting machines through Iran using rogue airlines Mahan Air and Conviasa, both previously targeted by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control," according to a press release.
Two executives who are heavily involved in the company's operations, Guillermo Carlos San Agustin and Marcos Javier Machado Requena, were also sanctioned by the Treasury Department.
The Treasury noted that after the sanctions, "all property and interests in property of the persons designated today that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to [U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC]."
"In addition," the agency said, "any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated persons are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or those within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons."
The move freezes any U.S. assets of the company and people and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.
“The illegitimate Maduro regime’s efforts to steal elections in Venezuela show its disregard for the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The United States remains committed to targeting the Maduro regime and those who support its aim to deny the Venezuelan people their right to free and fair elections.”
The United States, the European Union, and more than a dozen Latin American countries said last week they would not recognize the results of the Dec. 6 parliamentary election, which saw allies of Maduro win a majority.
Ex-Cle C.A. has not yet responded to a request for comment.