April 25, 2019 / 8:17 PM / a year ago

Citgo defends debt deal after Venezuela's Maduro called it 'illegal'

April 25 (Reuters) - U.S. refiner Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, said in a statement that a March debt deal was "carried out in compliance with all applicable U.S. laws" after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called it "illegal."

In a Tuesday television address, Maduro referred to a "$1.3 billion robbery and embezzlement," without specifying which deal he was referring to.

In its statement, Citgo - now controlled by a board named by opposition leader Juan Guaido - said a $1.2 billion term loan issued on March 28 was "marketed through an open and competitive process" and was also in compliance with "U.S. Government sanctions."

Guaido, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, invoked the country's constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognized as Venezuela's rightful leader by most Western countries, including the United States.

In January, the Trump administration sanctioned PDVSA, the Venezuelan government's main source of revenue, as part of a bid to pressure Maduro to leave office. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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