U.S. Examining Turkey’s Trade Relations With Venezuela, Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government is looking into the nature of Turkey’s trade with Venezuela and will take action if it finds that American sanctions are being violated, a senior U.S. official said.

The issue will probably be discussed when Marshall Billingslea, an assistant secretary at the U.S. Treasury with responsibility for combating terrorist financing, meets Turkish authorities in Ankara on Friday, the official said, asking not to be identified. The trip was supposed to be largely about Iran, but trade ties with Venezuela will likely come up as well, he said.

According to official data, Turkey imported $900 million of gold from Venezuela last year for refinement and processing. U.S. officials say that some may be making its way to Iran in violation of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Turkey has become one of Venezuela’s most ardent backers as President Nicolas Maduro fights to keep control of his restive country from National Assembly president Juan Guaido. The opposition figure unilaterally declared himself head of state and has been recognized as such by nations including the U.S., Canada and Brazil. Turkey says Maduro remains the legitimate leader of the country.

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