Miami Bank Shareholders Claim $27M Loss Due to Venezuelan Government Control

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Miami Bank Shareholders $27M Loss

Shareholders in a small Miami bank told jurors Wednesday that board members working for the Venezuelan government had taken control of the bank and cost shareholders $27 million by engaging with the sanctioned Venezuelan government.

In opening statements in federal court in Miami, Diego Pérez Ara, who represents shareholders Bancor Group Inc. and Stichting Particulier Fonds Franeker, told jurors that the Eastern National Bank board members’ decision to open accounts with the state-owned Banco de Venezuela in 2016 led to two consent orders from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which Pérez described as “the second-worst thing that can happen to a bank,” aside from a liquidation.

Since then, the bank has closed three of its four branches, laid off 30% of its workforce, and has half the assets it did before agents of the Venezuelan government took control, according to Pérez.

“Those consent orders have caused massive damages to the bank,” Pérez said. “There’s a clear moment in time that determined the fate of the bank, and that was opening the Banco de Venezuela accounts.”