Dragoslav Ilic, a Serb with a Panamanian trading company, trades Venezuelan oil and avoids US sanctions in global markets by bartering oil and reselling to third parties. MS Internacional Corporation exchanges crude for gasoline and gasoline components, allowing the Maduro regime to supply heavily subsidized fuel to his faithful supporters.
Bloomberg notes, until the last several months, no one in the business has ever heard of Ilic or his company.
Francisco Monaldi, a professor at Rice University's Baker Institute, said the emergence of new traders reminds him of those who helped the Venezuelan government survive the strike of 2002–2003.
"These tiny trading houses are doing the same, helping out the regime to either get cash or gasoline or dilutents to produce crude oil," Monaldi said.
Along with new trading houses, Russia's state-controlled oil company Rosneft, Indian refiners and China are supporting Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA) with billions of dollars in loans for the chance to purchase oil.