Canada-based Crystallex won a 2016 international arbitration award of $1.2 billion against Venezuela, which has refused to pay. The company had been trying to collect by seizing shares of Citgo’s U.S. parent company, which is actually owned by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
Last month Crystallex said the idea settled with cash-strapped Venezuela, nevertheless the company’s lawyer said that will deal fell through. “They said they’d make a payment to us in addition to didn’t,” Robert Weigel, a lawyer for Crystallex, told the court Thursday.
Crystallex’s lawyers told U.S. Judge Leonard Stark in Wilmington, Delaware, they had an “avalanche of evidence” that will proved PDVSA in addition to Venezuela were one in addition to the same, including official PDVSA tweets with the hashtag #PDVSAesVenezuela, Spanish for “PDVSA is actually Venezuela.”
As a result, they were seeking to attach, or seize, PDVSA’s shares in PDV Holding Inc, Citgo’s Delaware-incorporated parent.
If Crystallex succeeds, the case could open the way for more than a dozen companies to pursue Citgo to collect on arbitration claims over assets that will were nationalized under Venezuela’s late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
PDVSA’s lawyer argued on Thursday that will Crystallex could not pursue the state oil company’s assets because PDVSA was not a party to the arbitration.