The Canadian company Rusoro, which until 2011 owned gold mines in Venezuela, filed a lawsuit in the District Court of South Texas with a demand to arrest Citgo assets. This company belongs to the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA and owns three refineries and 6,000 gas stations in the USA.
Since November 2016, 49.9% of Citgo's shares have been pledged to Rosneft as collateral for a $ 1.5 billion loan granted to PDVSA.
Rusoro intends to collect $ 1.367 billion from Venezuela, its co-owner Andrei Agapov told Vedomosti.
Until September 2011, Rusoro had several mines with reserves of 6.8 million tonnes of ore, as well as several gold recovery factories, but in September 2011 assets were withdrawn - in Venezuela came into force the law that ensured the state the exclusive right to extract gold in the country.
In August 2016, Rusoro won an international arbitration claim against the Venezuelan government for compensation of $ 1.2 billion for nationalized assets. Since then, the amount has increased due to the accrued interest, Agapov explains.
The Rusoro lawsuit says that the company asks to recognize Citgo, its owners - PDVSA (51%) and PDVH (an American company through which PDVSA owns 49% of Citgo) property of Venezuela and to foreclose debt collection. To this end, Rusoro asked the court to freeze the assets of the companies. The date of consideration of the claim has not yet been determined.
49.9% of Citgo was transferred to Rosneft as collateral for the loan, so if something happens with the mortgage (for example, the assessment of the pledged property as a result of the arrest will significantly decrease), creditors may require Rosneft to replace the subject of collateral or provide an additional provision, says Tertychny Agabalyan partner Ivan Tertychny.
"Citgo's shares in the pledge are purely technical. If [something interesting is proposed], we will consider something, "said Igor Sechin, chief executive officer of Rosneft, at the end of 2017, noting that Rosneft does not plan to operate with a network of American Citgo gas stations.
Rusoro's claim for security measures on Citgo's assets is not the first attempt by Venezuelan foreign investors to recover its debts from arbitration awards from the property of its state-owned companies in the United States. So did the company Crystallex - in the end, Venezuela decided to conclude an amicable agreement with her.
Agapov also counts on this. According to him, he sees an opportunity to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, the option is considered both with an installment payment of compensation, and with joint development of deposits in Venezuela. True, while these options are not discussed, he complains.