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Venezuela Supreme Court Prosecutes Guaido-Appointed PDVSA Board

Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the country’s Supreme Court, ordered legal action against individuals that opposition leader Juan Guaido announced as the new board members for PDVSA and its U.S. unit, Citgo.

An AFP report quoted the Supreme Court as saying the 15 appointments were made by an authority whose decisions are null, adding that the individuals in question should face legal action on allegations ranging from usurpation and corruption to terrorism.

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice is pro-government. Last month, the same authority banned Juan Guaido from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts after the president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly declared he would assume the position of interim president of Venezuela until new, transparent elections are called.

Most of the board appointees, however, are not in Venezuela but in the United States. According to the AFP report, the Supreme Court’s decision should start an extradition process for them, but it’s hard to imagine Washington agreeing to that.

The case of the two PDVSA and Citgo boards has become a focus of attention among those following Venezuelan events. In a recent analysis, Bloomberg’s Davide Scigliuzzo said the “nightmarish legal situation” with Venezuelan government agencies and more importantly PDVSA and Citgo will more likely than not soon end up in a U.S. court. This, he says, means that probably ownership of Citgo will pass into the hands of Guaido.

Control of PDVSA’s still profitable refining and fuel retail business in the United States is a priority for the Guaido camp as a source of funding their regime change activities. Yet Citgo itself could find itself in a bit of pickle as PDVSA crude oil exports to its subsidiary decline under the weight of new U.S. sanctions. The refiner would have to look for alternative suppliers of crude and their prices are unlikely to be as low as PDVSA’s.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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