FILE PHOTO: The logo of PDVSA’s U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum is seen at a gas station in Stowell, Texas, U.S., June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman/File Photo/File Photo
September 15, 2021
(Reuters) -The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday denied a request by Canadian gold miner Crystallex to receive shares in Venezuelan-owned U.S. refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp as partial payment for debt, according to a document seen by Reuters.
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) told Crystallex the State Department had determined such a sale would be inconsistent with U.S. foreign policy interests, but that Washington would reassess these considerations during the first half of 2022.
Citgo has been controlled by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido since 2019, when Washington recognized him as the South American country’s leader and sanctioned state oil company PDVSA – Citgo’s ultimate parent – in a bid to oust President Nicolas Maduro, who it accused of election-rigging.
A judge approved the sale of shares in Citgo’s immediate parent earlier this year to satisfy Crystallex’s $1.4 billion judgment for the expropriation of its assets in Venezuela.
But the U.S. sanctions meant the company needed a specific license from OFAC, which enforces them, for the sale to take place.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New YorkEditing by Bill Berkrot)