Rusoro Mining has filed lawsuits in the US and Canada to seek compensation amounting to approximately $1.34bn in connection with the nationalisation of its gold mining assets in Venezuela.
The lawsuits form part of the company’s continuing efforts to force Venezuela to pay compensation that was previously awarded by an arbitration tribunal from the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in August 2016 under the Canada-Venezuela Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
Rusoro appealed to the US District Court for the District of Columbia in a bid to convert the award to a US judgement following Venezuela’s refusal to implement the ruling of the tribunal.
The judgement would allow the company to receive the compensation via the monetisation of Venezuela’s assets.
The plaintiff has named the Venezuelan state, as well as state-owned oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and its US-based subsidiaries as defendants in the latest lawsuits.
Rusoro contended that the South American country has engaged in fraudulent transactions to remove Venezuelan assets from the US, thereby hindering the company’s plan to execute judicial orders.
Specific charges against the defendants include various alleged debt transactions that are claimed to have led to PDVSA’s US affiliates becoming insolvent.
In a statement, Rusoro said: “While Rusoro would prefer a consensual resolution of its dispute with Venezuela, if Venezuela continues in its refusal to settle its debts to Rusoro on a consensual basis, Rusoro will continue to take all measures available to it to enforce the judgments and, if necessary, to seize Venezuelan assets in order to satisfy them.”
In addition, an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration tribunal recently adjudged that PDVSA owes US exploration and production company ConocoPhillips a sum of $2.04bn over charges of expropriation.