Venezuela will not recognize World Bank ruling in Exxon case
By Daniel Wallis
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday that his country would not recognize any ruling by a World Bank tribunal in a multibillion-dollar arbitration case with Exxon Mobil Corp.
Exxon took Venezuela to the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, seeking as much as $12 billion in compensation after Chavez ordered the nationalization of the Cerro Negro oil project in 2007.
"I tell you now: we will not recognize any decision by ICSID," Chavez said during a televised speech. He has repeatedly accused the U.S. oil major of using unfair deals in the past to "rob" the South American OPEC member of its resources.
"They are immoral ... How much could they steal in 50 years? Who would dare launch this madness without any foundation? They wanted $12 billion. From where, compadre?" he said.
"We are not going to bow before imperialism and its tentacles, understand that ... They are trying the impossible: to get us to pay them. We are not going to pay them anything."
An Exxon spokesman said the company had no comment.
Some interpreted the president's remarks as meaning Venezuela would reject rulings in any of about 20 other cases that it faces before the World Bank's tribunal, all triggered by a wave of state takeovers in recent years.
They include separate multibillion-dollar proceedings brought by another U.S. oil major, ConocoPhillips. Continued...