Venezuela’s cash-strapped government stopped paying its foreign debt months ago. But a unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, +1.74% recently received payments of tens of millions of dollars for bonds that ignited controversy last year when they were purchased at a big discount, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Venezuelan government made the payment in November, but the money had been held up by a clearing house that processes these payments over concerns that it may have been in violation of U.S. sanctions, these people said.
The purchase in May by Goldman’s asset management arm sparked charges that the New York firm was providing a financial lifeline to Venezuela’s embattled government. The public anger seemed to catch Goldman off guard, in part because the asset management arm hasn’t usually been prone to controversy.
Analysts say the $90 million payment on Friday for the bonds, which are held mostly by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, could amount to the final payment made by the government of President Nicolás Maduro —on any of its bonds.
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