Venezuela’s Bank Takeover, Alleged Iran Ties Prompting U.S. Banks to Rethink Operations

By Brian Monroe

At least a dozen U.S. and foreign financial institutions are considering limiting operations in Venezuela or leaving the country entirely in the wake of threats to nationalize banks and reports of the country's growing ties to Iran. Since Nov. 20, Venezuela has nationalized seven banks due to capitalization concerns, arresting 27 bank officials at these institutions for financial irregularities that led to bank losses. On Nov. 29, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said on state television that he has "no problem" nationalizing more. The bank seizures, viewed by many as a one-time measure, have nonetheless stoked fears among financial institutions about...