Venezuelan unrest may hurt miner's bid to reclaim $1.2 billion


By Jef Feeley
Bloomberg News
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Confusion over who’s in charge in Venezuela may spell bad news for Crystallex International Inc., a bankrupt gold producer trying to collect on a $1.2 billion arbitration award by seizing shares of the state-owned energy company that controls giant U.S. refiner Citgo Holding Inc.

An appellate court in Philadelphia heard arguments in the case on Monday, and one of the three judges indicated the matter may get sent back to a lower court. That would mean more delays for Crystallex, which has been seeking compensation for a Venezuelan gold mine seized in 2011 by the government. The company won a judgment in the U.S. in 2016.

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But since then Venezuela has been mired in turmoil, with President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido both claiming to be the country's legitimate leader, raising some concerns for at least one appellate court judge about whether it was fair to allow Crystallex to seize shares of Petróleos de Venezuela SA, Citgo's parent, if Guaido is the new head of the country.

"All the different permutations indicate this case will have to be sent back" to the trial court in Delaware for further review, Judge Joseph Greenaway Jr. said Monday during a four-hour hearing. The panel will rule later on the appeal. ...

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