CARACAS, June 12 Canadian mining company
Crystallex has won a court order that advances its efforts to
collect on a $1.4 billion award linked to a dispute with
Venezuela over the 2008 expropriation of the Las Cristinas gold
Crystallex in 2016 won an award of $1.2 billion plus
interest from a World Bank Tribunal. In March, it won a ruling
by a U.S. District of Columbia court upholding that award, a
crucial step in being able to seize Venezuelan assets in the
Crystallex can now seek to enforce the ruling in other U.S.
jurisdictions, the same District of Columbia court said in a
decision dated Friday.
This could allow Crystallex to seek an attachment of assets
such as Citgo, a refining and marketing subsidiary of Venezuelan
state oil company PDVSA.
Venezuela's information ministry did not respond to an email
Crystallex this year asked a U.S. court for an injunction
against PDVSA, arguing that it carried out $2.8 billion in
operations involving Citgo and pledged Citgo shares to Russian
oil firm Rosneft as a guarantee for a loan.
Crystallex called those operations an effort to block it
from collecting compensation.
Venezuela, which is struggling under triple-digit inflation
and a severe recession, is immersed in nearly 20 arbitration
disputes with foreign companies resulting mainly from a wave of
state takeovers by late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.
It has reached negotiated settlements to some of the
disputes, but companies that have won International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes awards have not been able to
collect on them due to frequent appeals and the complexity of
attaching Venezuelan assets.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Matthew Lewis)