Russian Official Refutes Country's Role In Venezuela's Petro Crytpocurrency

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A Russian official asserts that his country never partnered with Venezuela about the Petro, Venezuela's national cryptocurrency, Russia's news source Tass reported Friday. The world's first state cryptocurrency is marked by the Petro.

Artyom Kozhin, deputy director of the information and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, on Friday maintained a news story published by Time magazine and other news sources claiming to have an exclusive to the Petro's Russian origin are false.

Russian Claims Time Ignored Truth

The Russian Finance Ministry advised Time magazine that it firmly denied any involvement in the Petro, and that Time dismissed the ministry's statement. In a meeting on Feb. 21, 2018 in Moscow, Kozhin said Simon Zerpa, Venezuela's Minster of Economy and Finance, gave a booklet about the cryptocurrency into the Russian finance minister simply to notify the Russians about the project, but none of the parties mentioned reviewed or discussed Russian-Venezuelan action about cryptocurrency.

The Petro, the rate of which is linked to the price of petroleum produced in Venezuela, was announced in December by Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro as a payment instrument to escape global sanctions and a U.S. blockade. The Petro pre-sale of 82.4 million Petros was declared on Feb. 20, 2018.

Time: Putin Authorized Involvement

The Time report mentioned two Russians with ties to Russian banks acting as consultants on the Petro, Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky. Both Russians were reportedly seated in the front row in the presidential palace during the Petro's launch.

Druzhkov, according to an Associated Press report, is CEO of Zeus Trading, which was fined $31,000 and barred from trading three decades ago by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for fraudulent trading in futures' contracts.

Bogorodsky, according to the report, lives in Uruguay and has been described by the authorities as director of a business, Aerotrading, whose website consists of a single home page free of company information.

Time Sourced Russian Bank Official

In addition, Putin signed off on the project last year, the report said.

«People close to Putin, they told him this is the way to get around the sanctions. This is how the whole thing began,» the state bank executive allegedly added.

The Kremlin did not respond to a request for comment from Time, but Moscow's Finance Ministry said none of Russia's fiscal authorities were involved in developing or launch the Petro.

The Venezuelan government didn't respond to the magazine for comment either.