- Reuters/Christian Veron
Goldman Sachs has cashed out on a portion of the $2.8 billion in Venezuelan bonds that the bank came under fire for purchasing from the cash-strapped country’s central bank back in May.
A small cadre of hedge funds recently bought $300 million of the bonds from Goldman Sachs, which enlisted small UK-based brokerage Liquidity Finance to arrange the trade, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The bank’s asset management unit acquired the bonds of Venezuelan state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela for $0.31 on the dollar – about $865 million – a little over a month ago, setting off a firestorm of controversy for conducting business with the country’s authoritarian administration.
The group of hedge funds paid $0.325 cents on the dollar, according to the Journal, more than the $0.31 the bank paid. To be sure, Goldman Sachs is still holding a big chunk of the bonds, and the price could move up or down from here. The company declined to comment on the deal.
Goldman Sachs inked the deal to legitimize and encourage trading of the controversial bonds, in hopes that prices will climb higher, the Journal reported.
Venezuela has been flirting with civil unrest amid deep economic struggles and shortages of basic food and supplies, which many in the country blame on embattled President Nicolás Maduro.
Protestors and politicians slammed the investment bank for providing a cash lifeline to Maduro’s struggling administration, which has drawn widespread rebuke for violently cracking down on protests and delaying national elections to retain power.