Case of the Day: Crystallex v. Venezuela

The CITGO Sign in Kenmore Square
A Boston landmark. Credit: Lunarsurface

The case of the day is Crystallex International Corp. v. Bolivarian Republic of Veneuela (3d Cir. 2019). I last wrote about the case in October 2016. Crystallex, a Canadian company that had invested in a Venezuelan gold mining project, won a $1.2 billion aribtral award against Venezuela after that country nationalized the gold deposits and transferred them to the state-owned oil company, PDVSA. Crystallex won confirmation of the award in Washington and then sought to attach PDVSA’s shares in PDVH, its American subsidiary, which is the ultimate parent of CITGO a Delaware corporation that, according to the court, is “best known for the CITGO sign outside Fenway Park in Boston.” You’ve got that right. PDVSA, and some of its other creditors as amici curiae, argued against the attachment. The district court granted the attachment, and in today’s decision the Third Circuit affirmed. (more…)

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Lago Agrio: Donziger Ordered To Show Cause in Criminal Contempt Proceeding

Judge Kaplan has ordered Steven Donziger, the former lawyer for the Ecuadoran plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio case, to show why he should not be held in criminal contempt for failing to obey the judge’s injunction. The judge has also appointed prosecutors to prosecute the case. The claims run the gamut of the injunction; Judge Kaplan points to Donziger’s refusal to turn over his devices and passwords for forensic inspection, his refusal to surrender his passport, his failure to assign all interests he had in the 2011 agreement between the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, the Amazon Defense Front, and Donziger, his sale of part of his interest in the Ecuadoran judgment, etc. Here are a few thoughts: (more…)

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