POLITICS

Trump Administration Mistakenly Sanctioned Italian Pizzeria Owner

The former president's scattershot attempt to crack down on Venezuelan oil also unwittingly snared an Italian graphic designer.

In a quirky goof, an Italian pizzeria owner was mistakenly targeted for business sanctions by the Trump administration.

The mistake was rectified last week, and a pizzeria in the northern Italian town of Verona owned by Alessandro Bazzoni is no longer on the list of businesses blacklisted by the U.S.

A Treasury official told Reuters that the department realized the targeted company was owned by a different Bazzoni than the individual whose operations the Trump administration had intended to target in January.

Pizzeria owner Bazzoni described the last couple of months as a “nightmare.” 

He was swept in the Trump administration’s 2019 crackdown on Venezuelan oil in an unsuccessful strategy aimed at forcing the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump imposed sanctions on the nation’s state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). On his final day in office, Trump sanctioned an additional network of oil firms and individuals linked to PDVSA. That’s when Bazzoni discovered on a trip to his bank that his business was on the blacklist.

“When I heard that my current accounts had been blocked, I thought it was a joke,” Bazzoni told Corriere della Sera. “These are already difficult times for us restaurant owners, the last thing I needed was to have my accounts blocked.”

He said the U.S. quickly corrected the mistake. “I thank the new American government for the efficiency with which it intervened,” he said.

Another company, a Sardinian graphic design firm owned by a different Alessandro Bazzoni, also managed to get off the sanctions list after it was mistakenly added.

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