04:48 GMT +320 August 2019
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    Venezuelan Supreme Court Annuls Opposition's PDVSA, Citgo Board Appointments

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    CARACAS (Sputnik) – Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice has nullified the appointment of new board members to state-owned energy company PDVSA and Citgo oil refiner by the country’s opposition, and blocked these individuals’ bank accounts, prohibiting them from leaving the country.

    "The constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court notes that the analysed directive, issued by the National Assembly, is absolutely null and void and has no legal effect", Judge Juan Jose Mendoza Jover said at a court hearing as aired by the broadcaster Telesur on Thursday.

    On Wednesday, the opposition-controlled National Assembly endorsed members for PDVSA's special board of directors whose only goal would be to appoint new directors for US-based Citgo and its subsidiaries.

    READ MORE: Russia Suspects Venezuela Coup by Military Means Becoming US Priority

    The US office of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president, subsequently announced Citgo's new board of directors.

    Constitutionally elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has accused Guaido of acting on Washington's instructions, saying that the US sought to get hold of Venezuela’s oil assets, has promised to bring to trial those who recognise the new appointments.

    PDVSA, whose assets are worth $7 billion were blocked by the United States amid the political crisis in Venezuela, has called Citgo's opposition-appointed board of directors an attempt to "steal the wealth of the people".

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that by blocking PDVSA's wealth, the United States was preserving the company's assets in the interests of the Venezuelan people.

    READ MORE: Venezuela to Increase Oil, Gold Production in 2019 Amid Domestic Crisis — Maduro

    On 23 January, the political crisis in Venezuela took a new turn when speaker of the opposition-led Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president amid ongoing anti-government protests. Guaido's declaration was almost immediately recognised by the United States and some of its allies. EU member states were expected to issue a joint statement recognising Guaido, but Italy vetoed the motion, according to a Sputnik source.

    Russia, along with China, Mexico, Turkey, Uruguay and several other countries, has voiced support for Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

    Venezuela is one of the biggest oil producers in the world. Oil exports are currently way below 1 million barrels per day, which is more than a 10 percent drop from December and a less than half of Venezuela’s oil production 18 months ago, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (563)

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    board, appointment, opposition, Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice, Citgo, PDVSA, Venezuela
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