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U.S. Treasury sanctions deliver loss of PDVSA asset (Nynas)

This site has been critical of U.S. Treasury sanctions towards PDVSA / Venezuela. We have argued that, as implemented, sanctions were akin to a haphazard siege: cut access to main / back entrances, leave all other entry points open. We have reported how, despite sanctions, PDVSA hasn’t stopped trading its crude, assisted by a never ending queue of operators who are not American, i.e. do not have to observe / comply with Treasury sanctions. A lot of money has been made on the back of sanctions. With announcement of hedge fund Davidson Kempner's acquisition of Bitumina Industries Ltd's 49.9% of Nynas, we now have the first exhibit of a forced loss of a Venezuelan asset, delivered by U.S. Treasury sanctions.

Despite being a Swedish concern, Nynas has all the hallmarks of an utterly corrupt and mismanaged chavista enterprise. It got caught in the crossfire between Nicolas Maduro and Donald Trump's idiotic attempt to install Juan Guaido's puppet administration in Venezuela. Treasury sanctions on PDVSA forced Nynas into near bankruptcy. A "reorganisation process" followed, whereby the old management not only remained in place to renegotiate / restructure debt with stakeholders, but were ultimately put in control of 35% of PDVSA's 50.1% in Nynas. Swedish reorganisers also recognised parties that, legally, had no valid claims. As reported earlier:

"Bear in mind that Petrozamora was the main provider of crude to Nynas. Notice also the composition of Petrozamora, and this is key: there is no official mention, anywhere as far as this site's research goes, of GPB Energy Services B.V. When Treasury sanctions kicked in, creditors obviously had to be paid. There were a few billion Swedish kronor scattered around, and so the Derwick thugs got in early, managed to appoint legal counsel, and assumed -along Russian partners- PDVSA's representation in Nynas' reorganisation process. Those responsible for Nynas' reorganisation / debt restructuring process accepted GPB Energy Services B.V. -and not Corporación Venezolana de Petróleo or Gazprombank Latin America Ventures- as legitimate party to debt claims (over $100 million). How exactly the Derwick thugs manage that is down to their forte: some folks must have gotten bribed somewhere."

The result of the "reorganisation" was the following: PDVSA's partner in Nynas (Finland's Neste with 49.9%) sold its stake -which it had written off for €34 million in 2019- for a "consideration" to Bitumina Industries Ltd, a one man operation. PDVSA's half was divided: 35% into a Swedish Foundation controlled by Nynas' old management, the rest still under PDVSA's control. Nynas' debt was acquired by a syndicate of banks, which in turn sold most of it -on cents on the dollar- to Davidson Kempner.

It's been announced today that Davidson Kempner acquired Bitumina's 49.9%, following the latter's bankruptcy proceedings in London. It is yet to be determined whether Bitumina ever paid any considerations to Neste, and for how much Davidson Kempner got the stake. Davidson Kempner is now in commanding position, as both Nynas' largest creditor and -with its 49.9% stake- majority shareholder. 

It would be reasonable to assume that Treasury has vetted the operation, as Davidson Kempner is an American concern and has acquired nearly half of a PDVSA asset, however this site has seen no evidence of a license of any sort having been granted. What is clear to this site is that Treasury not only has, de facto, delivered control of that asset to Davidson Kempner, but has been completely silent about GPB Energy Services B.V.'s involvement, even though it sanctioned GPB entities that shared same address and management under its Russia / Ukraine-related Designations and Identifications.


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