VERONA, APR 5 (ANSA) – Blocked accounts, tarnished reputation and the name included on the United States government sanctions list. Because of a banal homonymy, a 45-year-old Italian businessman found himself at the center of an international dispute involving Venezuela, but without having any connection with Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
The case began on January 19, when U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on three people and 14 companies suspected of helping Venezuela evade previous punishments against its oil trade.
One such individual is Alessandro Bazzoni, a resident of Lugano, Switzerland, and the alleged owner of two companies (Elemento and Swissoil) used by Caracas to circumvent American sanctions. These two companies rented ships that supplied themselves with Venezuelan oil and later resold it in Asia.
However, by sanctioning all companies linked to Bazzoni, the US ended up on the list including a small restaurant owned by an entrepreneur of the same name, but residing on the outskirts of Verona, northern Italy.
The innocent Alessandro Bazzoni only discovered that he had been sanctioned on February 1, when he learned that his bank accounts were blocked. He sought out the Italian police and, without getting help, used a digital platform from the American government to send documents proving that he was not the namesake resident in Lugano.
However, the US only corrected the error on March 31, when the Treasury Department removed sanctions against Verona’s Bazzoni. The news caused the businessman so much surprise that he even thought it was an April Fool’s prank. “But it was all true. Without even sending me a letter of apology, the American government restored my life, ”said Bazzoni, who now has the right to laugh at the confusion.
“I wrote again to the Americans to ask for the green card. I think I deserve it ”, he added. Another Italian Alessandro Bazzoni, this owner of a printing company in Porto Torres, Sardinia, had also been sanctioned by mistake, but he did not want to talk about the case. (ANSA).
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