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WASHINGTON, D.C. Fri. July 24, 2020 (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Venezuelans over accusations they helped support the government and son of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the latest actions by Washington targeting the socialist leader.

The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said brothers Santiago Jose Moron Hernandez and Ricardo Jose Moron Hernandez, members of a family of “trusted partners” of Maduro and his son, help distribute assets for the Venezuelan president and his family.

The Treasury also said that the two brothers are central figures in Venezuela’s gold industry and oversee the financial mechanism of an illicit gold scheme involving the Venezuelan president’s son, also named Nicolas Maduro, who has previously been blacklisted by Washington.

Thursday’s action freezes any U.S. assets of the brothers and generally prohibits Americans from doing business with them.

“The United States is committed to targeting individuals who facilitate and enable this corrupt regime as they continue to ignore the welfare of the Venezuelan people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The United States and dozens of other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president, regarding Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a sham. But Maduro has remained in power, backed by the country’s military and by Russia, China and Cuba.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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