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Credit Suisse bans trading in Venezuela debt amid crisis

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The Zurich-based bank will no longer trade two bonds issued by the government and the state oil company or any notes from a Venezuelan entity issued after June 1, according to an Aug 7 company memo seen by Bloomberg. The lender is also restricting business with Venezuelan private individuals and companies. A Credit Suisse representative confirmed the memo's contents.

[ZURICH] Credit Suisse Group AG has barred its traders from buying or selling certain Venezuelan securities and business as the political and economic crisis in the South American country intensifies.

The Zurich-based bank will no longer trade two bonds issued by the government and the state oil company or any notes from a Venezuelan entity issued after June 1, according to an Aug 7 company memo seen by Bloomberg. The lender is also restricting business with Venezuelan private individuals and companies. A Credit Suisse representative confirmed the memo's contents.

Other banks are closely following the developments in Venezuela. UBS Group AG continues to trade Venezuelan government bonds but is scrutinizing transactions, said a person with knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, which has a subsidiary in Venezuela, said in an emailed statement that it is maintaining its commitment to the country.

Banks are under pressure from regulators to know their customers and rein in shady dealings in their operations. Deutsche Bank AG was fined in the US and UK earlier this year for failing to prevent the bank from being used in a Russian money-laundering scheme. Credit Suisse has come under scrutiny in Mozambique for helping to arrange state-backed loans that plunged that country's economy into crisis.

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"In light of the political climate and recent events in Venezuela, and actions taken by the current government, we want to ensure that Credit Suisse does not provide the means for anyone to violate the human rights of the Venezuelan people," the memo says.

More than 100 people have died in protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in recent months. International criticism mounted after the July 30 election of a special assembly charged with rewriting Venezuela's constitution - a move seen as an attempt by Mr Maduro to cement his hold on power.

BLOOMBERG

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