16:57 GMT02 December 2020
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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido claimed that he had control over CITGO, a US-based subsidiary of the Latin American country’s state-owned energy company PDVSA.

    "They [Venezuelan government] wanted to steal everything, but we do have control over CITGO and a license to continue the company’s activities, which saves an important asset of the state," Guaido wrote on Twitter late on Friday.

    ​The statement comes after the US Department of Treasury on Thursday extended the expiration date of a general license for CITGO, whose 49.9 percent had been pledged by Caracas to Russian energy giant Rosneft as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan back in 2016, and PDV Holding by 18 months. According to the Treasury, the extension would enable CITGO to continue its activities while "prohibiting any benefit from flowing back to the illegitimate Maduro regime."

    Back in January, the United States blocked $7 billion in PDVSA assets in its jurisdiction and imposed a ban on deals with the entity as part of efforts to facilitate a power transfer.

    READ MORE: US Extends Wind-Down Period for Doing Business With Venezuela's PDVSA — Treasury

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that by blocking PDVSA assets, the United States was taking care of this company in the interests of the Venezuelan people. Caracas has slammed the move as unlawful and accused Washington of seeking to get its hands on Venezuelan oil reserves.

    In February, the US office of Guaido, who illegally proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela in January and was swiftly recognized by Washington, announced CITGO's new board of directors. PDVSA called the appointment an attempt to "steal the wealth of the people," while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro promised to bring to trial those who would recognize the new appointments.

    Russia, China, Turkey, Bolivia have been among the states that backed Maduro as the only legitimate president of the country amid the ongoing political crisis.


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