Guaido Scores a New Autogoal: Sale of CITGO Refineries is Announced Under Auction Conditions

By Mision Verdad – May 24, 2020

As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Judge Leonard P. Stark of the Delaware District Court issued an order authorizing the auction of the refineries of Citgo, a subsidiary company of PDVSA in the US, with the purpose that the Canadian mining company Crystallex may collect $ 1.4 billion from an arbitration award won by the company in 2016 at ICSID.

Days ago, the US Supreme Court refused to settle appeals on the case, opening the door for a forced sale under auction conditions of the Citgo refineries, the main asset of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela abroad, valued at more than 8 billion dollars.

Already last year the Philadelphia-based federal appeals court had authorized Crystallex to move ahead with taking Citgo’s assets, a decision that was delayed by various appeals and by the embargo against the Venezuelan subsidiary.

But the dismissal of appeals by the Supreme Court has given a new impetus to the case and places the country’s main foreign asset at serious risk, since Judge Stark, from 2018, has already been authorizing the expropriation of the Venezuelan company.

As the AP indicates, “the (judicial) ruling deals a blow to the Venezuelan opposition led by Juan Guaidó.”

Since its self-proclamation, Guaidó and the National Assembly have assumed the “protection of Venezuelan assets” abroad as a central political banner of his new imaginary government.

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With a flimsy narrative leveraged in the supposed fight against corruption of the Maduro administration, the fake interim presidency of the Popular Will deputy illegally took control of the Citgo board and its legal defense, relying on the institutional recognition of the Trump Administration.

Guaidó appointed José Ignacio Hernández as imaginary attorney general for the interim, who would be in charge of the supposed protection of Citgo and captain the legal defense of the company. From there, everything would start to go wrong for Venezuela’s national interests.

Hernández worked for the law firm Grau, García Hernández & Mónaco that had Crystallex as a client in the legal process against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2017. Hernández was hired as an “expert witness” to defend the interests of the former Canadian mining company against Venezuelan interests.

The fake attorney was key in the legal move that made Crystallex’s claims before the US courts legal: he presented the argument that PDVSA was “an alter ego of the Venezuelan government”, so the award won by Crystallex could be collected with the sale of Venezuelan assets in the North American country.

José Ignacio Hernández, the fake attorney for Guaidó. Photo: Archive

In other words, Hernández contributed to the judicial operation against Citgo and was later awarded by Guaidó with his illegal appointment to “defend national assets.” The tragic joke tells itself.

The evident conflict of interest between Hernández and Crystallex has led to the current vulnerability of Venezuelan assets.

In recent months, the imaginary government of Guaidó (making illegal use of the money seized from Venezuela by the US Treasury Department) has disbursed more than 20 million dollars for Hernández to coordinate legal action “in favor” of the assets of millions of Venezuelans.

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At the beginning of the year, the National Assembly in contempt created a “special litigation fund” with which it would defray legal expenses.

But Judge Leonard Stark’s decision over Citgo makes it clear that the legal efforts of the fake attorney have only been successful for Crystallex.

On August 5, 2019, the US seized the Citgo subsidiary through Executive Order 13844, preventing it from being sold and officially taking away its control of the legitimate government of Venezuela.

Steven Mnuchin, the banker responsible for the US Treasury Department. Photo: NBC News

Although Guaidó and his immediate environment celebrated this measure, in reality he was transferring all the weight of the decisions on Citgo to a venue such as the US Treasury Department that has driven the piracy of Venezuelan resources and assets since the economic blockade against Venezuela began in 2015.

The court decision to auction off Citgo leaves the last word in the hands of the US Treasury Department: by modifying Executive Order 13844 or by issuing a special license, Venezuela may lose its main asset abroad at auction.

Regardless of the final decision, Judge Stark’s order represents a political setback for Guaidó, for the Trump Administration and for the narrative of the “safeguard” of Venezuela’s oil assets.

The denationalization of the fake interim presidency and the conflict of interest that surrounds the figure of José Ignacio Hernández, violated the legal defense of the country and opened the way to the scrapping of the properties of the Venezuelan nation outside its borders.

Queues to fill gasoline in Venezuela. Photo: The Confidential

The news represents a bucket of cold water for the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the gasoline shortage, generated mainly by US sanctions and Guaidó’s efforts, which have blocked the shipment of fuel and spare parts for refineries to Venezuela via the Citgo subsidiary, as it has done for a few years.

Guaidó has turned the country over to institutions dedicated to piracy and looting. What could go wrong?

Featured image: Citgo owns three refineries and a pipeline network that crosses 23 states in the United States. Photo: Reuters

Source URL: Mision Verdad / Medium

Translated by JRE/EF