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Diplomat slams claims of Russia’s involvement in Venezuelan cryptocurrency as ‘fake news’

March 23, 15:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Venezuelan authorities earlier announced the creation of the Petro cryptocurrency, with the rate linked to the cost of oil produced in the country

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Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Russia and Venezuela have never worked together on development of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency - the Petro, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Artyom Kozhin said in a comment on Friday.

"We homed in on a fake news story published by Time magazine and others that are popping up nowadays like mushrooms after a spring rain, claiming that they had a front-page exclusive on the alleged Russian origin of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency - the Petro," the official said.

"Undoubtedly, this exclusive report on the alleged involvement of Russian authorities in the inception of the Petro is a blatant lie," Kozhin said.

The Russian Finance Ministry has conveyed an official comment to Time on this matter, where it denied involvement in the Venezuelan cryptocurrency project but the magazine ignored it, Kozhin pointed out. "In no way, have the Russian financial authorities ever participated in this project. During the course of the meeting held on February 21, 2018 in Moscow, Venezuela’s Minister of Economy and Finance Mr. [Simon] Zerpa indeed handed over a booklet on the cryptocurrency to the Russian Finance Minister exclusively for the purpose of informing Russian partners about this project," the diplomat said. "None of the parties mentioned, discussed or reviewed the topic of cryptocurrency use in Russian-Venezuelan cooperation," he added.

Venezuelan authorities earlier announced the creation of the Petro cryptocurrency, with the rate linked to the cost of oil produced in the country. The digital asset went on sale on February 20.

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