The Guardian reported that the Donald Trump administration, before handing power to Joe Biden in early 2021, had mistakenly imposed sanctions on an Italian restaurant and graphic design studio.
On the last day of former President Donald Trump’s term, he ordered sanctions against a network of Venezuelan oil companies and people associated with the state oil company – Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
This was part of a long-running economic embargo on Venezuela, aimed at ending the regime of President Nicolas Maduro.
An unfortunate mistake, however, means that two Italian businessmen, who share the same name as a man involved in the Venezuelan oil trade, have had their businesses targeted with repression.
The Guardian reports that Alessandro Pazzoni, owner of a pizzeria in Verona, Italy, discovered that his business had been blacklisted for US businesses after visiting his local bank.
“When I learned that my checking accounts were blocked, I thought it was a joke,” Pazoni told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. “These are really tough times for restaurant owners, and the last thing I needed was to block my accounts.”
Al-Bazouni told the newspaper that he did not receive any apologies. However, he was grateful to have his name removed from the sanctions list. “I thank the new American government for the effectiveness with which it has intervened,” Pazoni told Corriere della Sera.
Another Italian, also named Alessandro Bazzoni, targeted his company. The U.S. Treasury has blacklisted his company SeriGraphicLab, according to The Guardian.
The Sardinian businessman, who declined to comment, confirmed to the newspaper that his graphic design studio is on the sanctions list.
The accidents were an issue of misidentification. The Washington Post reported that the US government was trying to target another Italian who was the “central mediator” of a network designed to assist PDVSA.
On March 31st, the Treasury Department updated its “specially designated national list” and eliminated those affected by the disruption.