OI European Group BV v Venezuela - United States District Court District of Delaware Case No 19-290 - 19-342 - 20-257 - Chief Judge Leonard P Stark - Opinion - 2 March 2022
Pending before the Court are various motions brought by creditors who hold judgments against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ("Venezuela" or the "Republic") or other entities of the Venezuelan government. Each judgment creditor seeks, through these actions, a writ of attachment.fierifacias (''fl.fa.") for shares of PDV Holding, Inc. (the "PDVH Shares") held by the Republic's state-owned oil company, Petr6leos de Venezuela, S.A. ("PDVSA").1
Although the Republic and PDVSA are legally distinct entities, judgment creditors with judgments against the Republic have sought to collect on those judgments by attaching PDVSA's property in this District, under the theory that PDVSA is the Republic's alter ego.
Under certain executive orders and a sanctions regime implemented by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), the PDVH Shares are "blocked property," so transactions involving those shares are prohibited. Thus, each judgment creditor admits that any writ of attachment for the PDVH Shares should not be served until either OFAC grants it a specific license to obtain an interest in the PDVH Shares or the sanctions regime changes and the PDVH Shares are no longer blocked. One common legal question in all four of these cases is whether the OFAC sanctions should stop the Court from ordering the narrow relief requested by the judgment creditors in their pending motions. For the reasons explained below, the Court concludes that the OFAC sanctions do not prevent it from authorizing the eventual issuance of a writ attachment, conditioned on some form of approval by the Executive Branch.