Trump Fears US Firms Giving Financial ‘Lifeline’ to Venezuela

The Trump administration is concerned about any action by U.S. companies that provides a financial lifeline to Venezuela’s government, senior White House officials told Reuters, after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. came under fire for purchasing $2.8 billion of state oil company bonds at a steep discount.

Venezuela’s political opposition and some U.S. lawmakers have condemned the purchase of so-called “hunger bonds” as a way to prop up President Nicolas Maduro’s cash-strapped government, accused of being behind food shortages affecting millions of Venezuelans in a worsening crisis.

The New York-based investment bank said last week that it never transacted directly with Venezuelan authorities when it bought the bonds of oil firm PDVSA for pennies on the dollar.

“We’re concerned by anything that provides a lifeline for the status quo,” one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. “I would prefer them not to.”

A second administration official said U.S.

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