Protection site

US extends protection of Venezuelan oil unit Citgo

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Washington (AFP) – The U.S. Treasury on Thursday extended for a year a rule that protects Citgo, a U.S.-based unit of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, from being seized by creditors, the department said.

The Houston-based company has been controlled by parties opposed to President Nicolas Maduro’s government since early 2019, when US sanctions against PDVSA went into effect.

Citgo had been used by the government as collateral in various loans. It has also been designated as an asset to offset defaults in cases adjudicated by international and US courts.

Now, as part of the sanctions against PDVSA, the Treasury has extended for a year an executive order that prohibits Citgo from being sold to creditors.

The administration of then-President Donald Trump handed control of Citgo to opposition leader Juan Guaido in 2019 after recognizing him as his country’s interim president following an election in which Maduro won another term amid fraud allegations.

President Joe Biden still supports Guaido.

Venezuela’s oil-rich economy is collapsing under leftist Maduro and millions have fled the country. The United States imposed punitive sanctions on the government to stifle access to cash from oil exports.