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Report: U.S. confiscated $800 million from top Venezuelan official

Diosdado Cabello, a member of the Constitutional Assembly and Venezuelan ruling party chief, center front, is surrounded by bodyguard and supporters during an anti-imperialist march to denounce Trump’s talk of a “military option” for resolving the country’s political crisis in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017.
Diosdado Cabello, a member of the Constitutional Assembly and Venezuelan ruling party chief, center front, is surrounded by bodyguard and supporters during an anti-imperialist march to denounce Trump’s talk of a “military option” for resolving the country’s political crisis in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. AP

The U.S. government has frozen about $800 million in assets from senior Venezuelan leader Diosdado Cabello Miami journalist Oscar Haza reported Tuesday during his morning radio show on Miami’s Spanish-language Zeta 92.3.

Haza, who said his information came from “important sources” in the Trump administration, also said that Cabello's daughter, Daniella Cabello, was turned away when she flew to the United States and was put on a plane to Caracas. He did not specify when.

Venezuela has been engulfed in economic and political turmoil under the regime of President Nicolas Maduro. Cabello is one of the top leaders in the troubled country.

“A total of $800 million has been seized and proven to belong to Diosdado Cabello,” Haza reported on his radio program. “That could cover about two months of Venezuela's debt service payments.”

Among the 12 seized properties is a luxury apartment on New York City's Central Park, Haza added.

The information could not be confirmed independently by el Nuevo Herald, but the Trump administration a few weeks ago put Cabello on the Treasury Department’s blacklist, which in essence allows officials to freeze his U.S. banks accounts and property sales. Treasury accused him of corruption, narco-trafficking and mineral smuggling.

Cabello flatly denied Haza’s version from Caracas on Twitter.

“The right, in its desperate effort to create and believe its own lies, now is including my daughter. According to their news media, from Diosdado Cabello the United States took away $800 million and deported Daniella. Another lie, another infamy. We will overcome!” Cabello tweeted in Spanish.

“How lacking intelligence would I be if at this point I would have $800 million in the United States and that in addition I would expose my daughter to travel to that country... A little more imagination, lords of lies.Make the effort of thinking please,” he added.

On his morning radio show, Haza said that Washington’s sanctions have been a severe blow Cabello.

“They have hit the heart of the engine room of his economic battleship, the product of drug trafficking and the business deals done for his benefit,” the journalist added.

Cabello, former president of the Venezuelan legislature, was upset by treatment of his daughter when she landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told her that her visa had been canceled and put her on a plane to Venezuela, Haza said.

The confiscations of Cabello's properties are part of U.S. government efforts to identify and freeze the wealth of Maduro regime officials linked to corruption and drug trafficking.

Cabello was sanctioned last month along with his brother, Jose David, his wife Marleny Josefina Contreras, and his business partner, Rafael Sarria.

“Aside from money laundering and the illegal export of minerals, Cabello is also directly involved in drug trafficking activities,” said the Treasury statement said, announcing his addition to the sanctions list.

A video posted to Twitter shows Joshua Holt, the Utah man who has been detained in Venezuela for almost two years without a trial, boarding an airplane to the United States after being released from Venezuelan custody on Saturday, May, 25, 2018.

Follow Antonio María Delgado on Twitter:@DelgadoAntonioM
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