US Court Dismisses Claim Against Venezuela from Crystallex Mining Firm

The Canadian gold mining firm was seeking a payment of USD$1.2 billion plus interest.

By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas

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The entrance to Las Cristinas gold mine in Venezuela, which formerly belonged to Crystallex. (Reuters) 
The entrance to Las Cristinas gold mine in Venezuela, which formerly belonged to Crystallex. (Reuters) 
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Bogota, January 4 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) - A Delaware federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against Venezuela’s US-based oil subsidiary CITGO by mining company Crystallex, stating that the firm had “failed to make a case”.

The Canadian gold mining company had accused CITGO of making fraudulent transfers to avoid paying USD$1.4 billion in compensation to the firm, whose Venezuela assets were nationalised by the Venezuelan government in 2008.

Though Caracas was ordered to indemnify the company by a World Bank tribunal in 2016, Crystallex says that the government has so far failed to make the payment, despite agreeing to pay in instalments in November 2017.

Ruling on Wednesday, the Federal Court Judge said that CITGO could not be considered a debtor to Crystallex, given that state-companies and national governments are generally viewed as two separate legal entities.

Crystallex had unsuccessfully tried to argue that PDVSA and Venezuela were “one and the same”.

"Crystallex has failed to successfully plead a transfer "by a debtor" and thus failed to successfully plead a fraudulent transfer claim against [Delaware based subsidiary] PDVH under DUFTA [Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act]” concluded the federal court.

US news outlets had previously reported in December 2017 that the Canadian company was seeking to seize control over CITGO as part of the indemnity payment.

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