ExxonMobil's Asset Freeze on Venezuela Overturned

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ExxonMobil's Asset Freeze on Venezuela Overturned

LONDON -- A court here overturned yesterday a Feb. 13 injunction by ExxonMobil Corp., which froze $12 billion worth of assets belonging to Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), stating that the dispute wasn't connected to the U.K., Bloomberg News reported.

ExxonMobil said that it won't appeal the ruling, the report stated.

ExxonMobil sought freeze orders in several countries to prevent Venezuela from shifting assets out of the reach of an international arbitration commission, which is handling claims against the country's government for the 2007 takeover of an oil field, according to the report. Courts in the U.K., Netherlands and Netherlands Antilles issued orders to freeze PDVSA assets, which kept PDVSA from moving assets, while allowing it to do business, according to court papers cited by Bloomberg News.

The orders obtained outside the U.K. are still in place, said PDVSA lawyer George Kahale.

"The judge hasn't allowed his court or his country to be an instrument" of ExxonMobil, Samuel Moncada, Venezuela's ambassador to the U.K., told Bloomberg News. "This decision should have an effect on any reasonable court in the world."

ExxonMobil spokesman Alan Jeffers told Bloomberg News that Judge Paul Walker "concluded that the English courts shouldn't be issuing pre-judgment orders" with reference to international arbitrations.