It was a surprise because Venezuela is run by a dictator who is a sworn enemy of the United States, and Citgo had never before made a donation to a U.S. presidential inauguration. It came at a time people in Venezuela are starving and there have been riots over the disastrous economy and ‘the authoritarian regime’s brutality.
The size of the donation was also unusual, as it was larger than what was donated by any American oil company or even retail giant Walmart.
Here is what makes this whole question of Russian influence credible: To make a pending bond payment, Citgo mortgaged 49 percent of its equity to Rosneft, an oil company controlled by Putin’s Russia, that is currently under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department. Rosneft is run by Igor Sechin, who is very close to Russian President Putin.
The oil company under Sechin has been used in recent years as a way for Russia to exercise its geopolitical influence. Read full story