Venezuela arrives with Crystallex to protect Citgo



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(Reuters) Venezuela has filed a $ 1.2 billion lawsuit to prevent its most overseas asset, Citgo Petroleum Corp.'s refining unit. in the United States, was confiscated by a creditor, according to Canadian court documents.

The agreement with Crystallex International Corp. suspends the court order for the Canadian miner to take control of Citgo as a way of recovering a severed claim in an arbitration decision against Venezuela. which raised interest to $ 1.4 billion.

Venezuela completed an initial payment of $ 425 million, largely on "liquid securities" on November 23, according to a filing with the Ontario Court of Justice, where Crystallex has been acting since 2011 under the protection of the creditor.

The South American country agreed to pay the remaining amount in installments at the beginning of 2021. If Venezuela fails to credit, until January 10, the guarantee for the remaining payments, Crystallex can restart legal proceedings.

A US court in Delaware heard arguments on Dec. 20 to bid Citgo out of its controlling company, PDVSA, Venezuela's state oil company. Citgo operates three refineries in the United States that are a key destination for Venezuela's oil exports and have been valued at billions of dollars, Reuters Review.

Although Venezuela was plagued by an economic crisis and US sanctions, and suspended debt payments in tens of billions of dollars, it focused on maintaining Citgo's control. The government made payments last month to investors holding Citgo-backed securities.

Crystallex and Venezuela reached an agreement last year, the South American country was able to keep the payment agreement after transferring $ 75 million.

Venezuela expropriated a gold mining project from Crystallex in 2011, which led to the arbitration decision in 2016.

As Venezuela's debt defaults have accumulated and US sanctions have sealed off the country, lenders have begun to chase after PDVSA's overseas assets as a way to get their money back.

ConocoPhillips said in October it received $ 345 million in cash and materials in the third quarter of PDVSA as part of a quota deal to raise $ 2 billion in arbitration.

Rusoro Mining Ltd reached an agreement with Venezuela in October, five months after the Canadian miner submitted documents in the United States to try Citgo and receive a $ 1.3 billion award for an expropriated gold mine.

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