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Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly who swore himself in as the leader of Venezuela, center, speaks to members of the media during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro and his administration in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Venezuelan opposition seeks to block sale of Citgo assets

Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly who swore himself in as the leader of Venezuela, center, speaks to members of the media during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro and his administration in Caracas, Venezuela, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

The Venezuelan opposition led by National Assembly leader Juan Guaido is seeking to block the sale of assets of Citgo Holding Inc., an international unit of PDVSA, to satisfy a US$1.4 billion creditor judgment for Canadian mining company Crystallex International Corp.

Venezuela’s Opposition Leader Juan Guaido (Photo: Bloomberg)

In a filing Wednesday in federal court in Delaware, the opposition group asked for relief from a previous ruling authorising the sale based on the overseas units’ control by the Venezuelan regime of President Nicolas Maduro. The opposition, which has been recognised by the US government, said circumstances had changed because it could now safeguard the independence of the assets.

“Citgo and PDV Holding Inc. are independent companies from the Republic of Venezuela,” Guaido’s ambassador to Washington Carlos Vecchio said in a telephone interview. “We ask the judge to evaluate his decision with these new facts.”

(Photo: Moscow Times)

The opposition is also arguing that the US Office of Foreign Asset Control, OFAC, prohibits any creditor from seizing Venezuelan assets abroad, including Citgo. “No process of sale of our assets can be started. To do it, an OFAC license is required,” Vecchio said.

The US Supreme Court already declined to hear the case last month, leaving intact a federal appeals court ruling in favour of Crystallex.