BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 14:44 GMT
Court releases Venezuelan assets
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks at an oil facility
Hugo Chavez accused the US government of being involved
The High Court in London has suspended an order that froze $12bn (6bn) of the assets of Venezuela's state oil firm, PDVSA, in a dispute with ExxonMobil.

Exxon is seeking $12bn in compensation from PDVSA after its oilfields were nationalised last year.

Venezuela has settled with other international oil firms, but says Exxon exaggerated the value of its assets.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has accused the US government of being involved in the dispute.

No fraud

Presiding Judge Paul Walker issued a statement explaining his ruling.

"In the absence of any exceptional feature such as fraud, and in the absence of substantial assets of PDVSA located here, the fact that the seat of arbitration is not here makes it inappropriate to grant an order," he said.

The assets were originally frozen pending arbitration on the value of Exxon's former holdings.

Venezuela's ambassador in the UK, Samuel Moncada, hailed the result as "the beginning of the end" of what he called Exxon's "campaign of harassment against PDVSA around the world".

"The English judge rejected Exxon's intention to use an English court as an instrument of coercion against a Venezuelan company," he added.

So far, there has been no comment from Exxon on the ruling.



SEE ALSO
Venezuela settles with oil firms
21 Feb 08 |  Business
Venezuela disputes Exxon's claims
15 Feb 08 |  Business
Venezuela breaks ties with Exxon
13 Feb 08 |  Business
Venezuela denies oil asset freeze
08 Feb 08 |  Business
Exxon in Venezuela asset freeze
07 Feb 08 |  Business
Exxon Mobil reports record profit
01 Feb 08 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific