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June 2020

BREAKING: Wilmer Ruperti's plan to "help" chavismo includes exporting Alejandro Betancourt's crude

Joshua Goodman has a piece about Wilmer Ruperti. In short, a cargo of gasoline was to be loaded onto Alkimos vessel in Cristobal (Panama), to be delivered to Aruba, where it was due to be ship-to-ship transfered to Beauty One, a vessel used by PDVSA for cabotage. Ruperti must've thought the Alkimos could just transfer load and that would be the end of it. Given that sanctions were already in place, parties controlling Alkimos got scared and set sail for the Gulf Coast, where a court is about to auction its cargo.

U.S. Treasury: hit Greek shipowners to force Nicolas Maduro

There's been persistent chatter in the last few days about secret talks in Caracas between Donald Trump's envoys and Nicolas Maduro, aimed at easing Maduro from power. Former union boss Carlos Ortega even said it was a done deal. The sanctions regime imposed by U.S. Treasury on Venezuela / PDVSA is causing huge cash flow problem for Maduro and co.

Spain, Italy, Russia come to Maduro's rescue

Something quite extraordinary happened upon arrest of Alex Saab in Cape Verde: all the shells that had been lifting most of PDVSA crude (Libre Abordo, Proton SL, Schlager Business Group, Delta LLC) disappeared suddenly from shipping schedules. That tells the crucial role that Saab has in keeping PDVSA trading running. But Spain's Repsol and Italy's ENI, which in turn had nearly disappeared when Saab took over from Rosneft, are increasing their lifting activities.

Helsinge's man Jose Ignacio Hernandez resigns

Jose Ignacio Hernandez, the heavily conflicted "Procurador" of Juan Guaido, resigned yesterday. Hernandez's resignation letter is a study in dishonesty. No mention was made about work done for Crystallex and in case of PDVSA US Litigation Trust against Helsinge, Trafigura, Glencore et al. Hernandez should have never been appointed to that position, should have never been given access to critical information which will, very likely, end up with Hernandez's past clients.

PDVSA's crude trading halted by arrest of Alex Saab

PDVSA has ceased its trading operations almost completely, owing mainly to "bankruptcy" of Libre Abordo and arrest in Cape Verde of Alex Saab, PDVSA's de facto largest trader. Latest data from June shows ENI (Delta Captain, Delta Tolmi) and Repsol (Delta Med, Delta Angelica) are due to lift Merey cargoes. 3.6 MB altogether. That's it. There's no one else.

Arrested in Cape Verde on INTERPOL notice, Alex Saab will slip back to Caracas

There's been frantic commentary over the weekend due to arrest last Friday of Alex Saab (Nicolas Maduro's favourite operator) in Cape Verde. Colombia moved last week against Saab, seizing and freezing some of his assets and placing him on INTERPOL's blue notice list. But this is Cape Verde, and Alex Saab, so alleged expedite extradition to face U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) charges was never going to be a straighforward affair. As of this writing, Saab is still in Cape Verde, not going anywhere in a hurry.