On 12th February, OFAC published 2 new FAQ relating to its Venezuela sanctions. They provide additional guidance on the debt-related prohibitions in Executive Order 13808, including the meaning of “new debt” and the receipt of certain late payments from the Government of Venezuela, including Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA).
OFAC does not consider debt that was created prior to August 25th 2017 to be “new debt” so long as the terms of the debt instrument (including, for example, the length of the repayment period or any interest rate applied) agreed to by the parties do not change on or after August 25th 2017. Such pre-existing debt does not need to conform to the 30- or 90-day limits, and US persons may collect and accept payment for such debt regardless of whether the relevant segment of the Government of Venezuela, including PdVSA, pays during the agreed-upon payment period.
The second new FAQ is: for debt created on or after August 25th 2017, are US persons permitted to accept payment from PdVSA or other segments of the Government of Venezuela if payment for a debt is not received within the applicable period specified in EO 13808 (90 days for PdVSA, 30 days for other segments of the Government of Venezuela)? The basic answer is no, unless a licence is held or authorised by OFAC.