CARACAS – A Delaware Federal Court judge ordered on July 5 to set the date for the possible sale of state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela’s US-based refining arm CITGO to pay an outstanding debt of $1.4 billion for Sept. 17, The Canadian reported on its website on Thursday.
Judge Leonard P. Stark said that the hearing was set at 9:00 am and “the parties will work with the cameras to make arrangements to allow the argument to continue by teleconference, with the opportunity for members of the public to listen, without being able to interfere with the procedures.”
Venezuela’s interim government led by Juan Guaidó, which represents the Venezuelan state in this case and has been litigating against the CITGO sale for over a year, has argued that in order to authorize the sale, a license issued by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is mandatory.
For her part, OFAC head Andrea Gacki endorsed this position in a letter submitted to the court, arguing that even though Canadian miner Crystallex has already requested a license, it should consider the current situation of Venezuela as well as the arguments of the Department of State before making a decision.
Crystallex is the biggest of a group of creditors apart from US oil company ConocoPhillips, which have been taking legal action for the court to allow the auction of the shares of PDV Holding Inc., the parent company of CITGO, in order to collect outstanding debts.
Crystallex had received a ruling in its favor issued by the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in April 2016 because in 2008 the late President Hugo Chávez illegally expropriated its Las Cristinas gold mine, which led to the claim by the mining company in the international court.