CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s congress on Thursday said it hired two U.S. firms to manage $80 million seized from President Nicolas Maduro’s government after Washington disavowed it and recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president.
Opposition leaders are hoping to use some of the funds to provide stipends for doctors and nurses working on the front lines of the coronavirus epidemic.
Delaware based companies BRV Disbursement Co. LLC and BRV Administrator Co. LLC will manage the resources in exchange for $1.25 million, congress said in a statement.
Reuters was unable to obtain comment from the firms, which do not appear to have websites.
Guaido does not control Venezuela’s state institutions or armed forces, but his allies control offshore assets including refiner Citgo and some funds that had been held by Maduro’s government in U.S. accounts.
Despite a sweeping set of sanctions enacted in early 2019, Guaido’s allies have struggled to obtain access to funds frozen in the United States due in part to the stringent requirements of U.S. authorities.
Maduro’s government has accused Guaido and others of stealing the nation’s resources with the help of the Trump administration.
Reporting by Corina Pons and Mayela Armas; Editing by Alistair Bell