On Wednesday, Venezuela rejected the decision of the U.S. Judge Leonard Stark who authorized the auction schedule for the shares of CITGO, a U.S.-based subsidiary of the state-owned Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA).
Venezuela Demands the Return of Its Assets Held Abroad
"The Venezuelan State categorically rejects this reckless decision, tainted with arbitrariness and veiled bias," the Ali Rodriguez Araque Presidential Commission (ARAPC), which was formed in 2020 to restructure the oil industry, said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Judge Stark authorized PDV Holding to sell CITGO shares so that it can compensate the Canadian-based Crystallex International Corporation, which alleges that Venezuela nationalized the Las Cristinas gold mine in 2008.
The ARAPC pointed out that Stark's ruling is part of the actions that Washington is taking against the Bolivarian nation. These judicial actions seek a "blatant and indiscriminate plunder of the assets of the Venezuelan people."
In January 2019, days after opposition politician Juan Guaido proclaimed himself "Venezuelan president in charge," the Trump administration imposed sanctions on PDVSA. Among them was the blocking of CITGO funds with the aim of transferring resources to Guaido.
The Venezuelan company CITGO, which is among the world's largest oil companies, is valued at US$12 billion. The alleged debt with Cyrstallex, however, barely reaches US$970 million.
The aution schedule approved by the U.S, judge stipulates that the CITGO shares must be sold until April 2023. The investment firm Evercore will act as "advisor" in this process.
"Venezuela alerts the community on the execution of actions of this nature because they set a dangerous precedent that could represent the beginning of a dark period, related to the vulnerable scheme of foreign investment in U.S. territory," the ARAPC stressed.