Venezuela Opposition Fights Creditors for Control of Billions in Global Assets

Foes of the Maduro regime try to protect Citgo, gold and other property, with the changeover in U.S. administrations complicating efforts

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. considers Venezuela’s legitimate president, during a rally last month.

Photo: federico parra/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Creditors from hedge funds to oil companies are moving closer to seizing billions of dollars in Venezuela’s overseas assets, posing a threat to an opposition movement that has sought to protect the assets for an eventual change of government.

Tens of billions in Venezuelan money and property is up for grabs, including Houston-based oil-refining company Citgo Petroleum Corp., gold bullion housed in the Bank of England, bank accounts in New York and real estate and aircraft in South Florida, according to Venezuelan opposition leaders.

Creditors are seeking the assets as compensation for billions of dollars owed to them by the bankrupt Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro.

The job of safeguarding those assets for Venezuela has fallen to the country’s opposition because the cases are being fought in courts in the U.S. and Europe, where most governments don’t recognize Mr. Maduro and instead view the opposition as Venezuela’s legitimate representatives.

The assets include legitimate businesses and accounts once under the control of the Venezuelan state, as well as stolen money deposited overseas and?big-ticket items ranging from large jets to helicopters to Miami mansions?purchased by corrupt officials?using Venezuelan state funds, said Javier Troconis, a?Florida-based Venezuelan exile in charge of recovering assets for a team run by opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

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