Luke Cohen and Sergio Gonçalves
NEW YORK/LISBONA (Reuters) – Lenders of the state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA are looking at the money available in an oil company account in Portugal’s Novo Banco, in a bid to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debt.
Puerto Rican Bank Banco San Juan Internacional (BSJI) obtained a Lisbon court order in July to receive funds from a $1.3 billion account in Novo Banco as compensation for PDVSA’s default on its credit agreement with BSJI in 2018, according to court documents seen by Reuters. .
US glass manufacturer OI Glass and Houston-based oil company ConocoPhillips have sought similar orders to receive their payments in exchange for the asset’s nationalization, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the total requests for payment of the Novo Banco account amount to nearly $600 million.
The moves represent a new front in long-term debt-collection efforts in Venezuela, which has a hyperinflated economy and faces US sanctions aimed at ousting President Nicolas Maduro, who has cut off the country’s access to most assets in the system. Financial.
Maduro’s socialist government is facing an economic meltdown in the once prosperous OPEC nation, which has failed to repay more than $60 billion in bonds. The country still owes billions more in court rulings.
BSJI won an $83.9 million judgment against PDVSA in November after the company was sued in the UK, with the parties agreeing to settle disputes, according to a British court document. The court rejected PDVSA’s argument that it could not pay due to US sanctions, according to the document.
A judge in a district court in Lisbon granted the institute on July 8 the right to confiscate funds held in Novo Banco, according to a Portuguese court document.
(Reporting by Luke Cohen in New York and Sergio Gonçalves in Lisbon; reporting by Catarina Dimoni in Lisbon)
((Translation of the Sao Paulo Newsroom, 55 11 56447745))
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