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UPDATED: PDVSA (illegal) divestment of 35% stake in Nynas

UPDATED 15/05/2020 - The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed Nynas from its list of sanctioned entities yesterday. Nynas published a release, in which it claimed that PDVSA (Nynas' majority shareholder) had "...reduced the percentage of Nynas shares it owns to 15 percent of all shares currently issued. The 35 percent divested by PDVSA are now controlled by an independent Swedish foundation under no influence by PDVSA..." Trouble is, it is almost certain the move breached Venezuelan legislation: Maduro can't just dispose of Venezuela's assets without proper approval.

Sources familiar with proceedings informed this site that Dentons, legal counsel for Nicolas Maduro's regime, was involved in negotiating OFAC license and in subsequent divestment of PDVSA's stake to a new "independent Swedish foundation", where PDVSA / Nynas management will have a say. The aim was to park that 35% stake elsewhere, to facilitate conclusion of reorganisation process which was being hampered precisely by PDVSA majority stake in Nynas, until such time when PDVSA will either regain control, transfer to a non-sanctioned party, or sell.

There's a rather interesting angle, whereby this new foundation's proceeds could be used to fund grants to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). As if Venezuela is in a position to be funding research / studies to anyone in Sweden.

Requests for comment have been sent to Dentons and to IVA. UPDATED 15/05/2020: IVA sent a reply claiming it does not have any knowledge as to either Nynas' reorganisation process, or why has it been mentioned in that context.

Nynas has been on a uphill struggle since Treasury sanctions against PDVSA and its subsidiaries kicked in. The fact that it was getting most of its crude from Petrozamora, a JV between PDVSA and Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V., aggravated its operations even more, given that Gazprombank Latin America Ventures B.V. is 1) also a Treasury-sanctioned entity; 2) its Russian shareholders -GPB Energy- are also on Treasury's SDN list; 3) its Venezuelan shareholders (Francisco Convit, Orlando Alvarado and Alejandro Betancourt) are either wanted or part of active criminal probes by the U.S. Justice Department.


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