MOSCOW – Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA will open an office in Moscow in June and is devoting itself to the transfer of employees, said Petroleum Minister and PDVSA President Manuel Quevedo.
“This month, we have done everything in May, now we are transferring employees,” the minister told reporters, who asked when the Russian office would be opened on the banks of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Caracas and Moscow are working on the details of the transfer of the PDVSA office from Lisbon to Moscow.
The US has applied sanctions against PDVSA, blocking billions of dollars from the company and Caracas’ access to the account where money from the sale of oil is deposited. As a condition for the cancellation of sanctions, the US authorities demand the surrender of power to Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself acting president of the Caribbean country.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ordered the closure of PDVSA’s Lisbon office and its transfer to Moscow.
Caracas justified the transfer by Europe being unable to guarantee the safety of Venezuelan assets. Earlier, the Bank of England refused to return the gold from Venezuela, which was previously deposited.
Meanwhile, Maduro said on Tuesday that Citgo, a US subsidiary of the state-owned oil company PDVSA, is being stolen through illegal debt with the collusion of the United States government.
“I take the opportunity to report the theft of Citgo through totally illegal debt, and this will be demonstrated when we win lawsuits in the United States and the Citgo company is returned to the property of the Venezuelan state, as it should be,” said Maduro in statements transmitted by national TV and radio channels.
During a speech at the Miraflores Palace (seat of government), in the company of Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez and the mayor of Caracas, Erika Farías, Maduro accused the National Assembly (unicameral parliament, oppositionist majority) of being complicit in this operation considered illegal.
The US Treasury Department sanctioned PDVSA in January by freezing $7 billion of its assets and said Citgo could continue to operate, but its profits would be deposited in a blocked account for the Venezuelan government.