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Venezuelan oil company sued ex-Miami congressman over $ 50 million

MIAMI – Venezuela’s state-owned oil company was on the verge of financial ruin in 2017 when it decided to need expert advice to improve its reputation and work with American policymakers who could be vital to its survival.

For help, the company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. or PDVSA, to a well-connected former Florida congressman and agreed to pay his company $ 50 million for “strategic consulting services” over a three-month period.

The former congressman was David Rivera, a Cuban-American Republican from Miami who made the take a political career strict anti-communist stance – and has now been hired by President Nicolás Maduro of the Venezuelan socialist government.

As part of the aforementioned business, a subsidiary of a PDVSA holding company in the United States spent $ 15 million on Mr. Rivera’s consulting firm. She received only two vague five-page reports, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Mr. Rivera’s company, Interamerican Consulting, “did not provide significant services under the agreement and certainly did not provide the level of service that would reasonably be expected to be expected for a fee of approximately $ 17 million per month,” said Complaint submitted to PDV USA The American subsidiary refers to the monthly amount that it has calculated for its services.

The company is seeking to reimburse the $ 15 million it paid to Interamerican between March and April 2017 with $ 15 million in interest and damages.

He seemed to suspect that he was working with the Venezuelan opposition, but there was no way to confirm it immediately.

Through a spokeswoman, Mr. López denied any participation in the contract that was signed during his detention. “It is absurd to attempt any kind of connection between Leopoldo López and a contract signed by representatives of the Maduro regime when the same regime isolated and tortured Mr. López in a military prison,” said the spokeswoman.

The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Rivera’s company, which is based in his town house and employs only him and his sister, was recruited by PDVSA and received instructions from PDVSA, not from PDV. If PDVSA had hired him directly, Mr. Rivera would probably have had to disclose his work under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The two companies agreed to transfer Mr. Rivera’s contract to PDVSA, the lawsuit said, but Mr. Rivera disagreed – demanding payment of the remaining $ 35 million.

“Although Interamerican, despite the participation of the Maduro regime and the extreme disproportion between the price of the contract and the services to be provided, has not provided the services required by the agreement,” said the complainant, “Rivera has repeatedly asked for payment. ” for the outstanding bills. “

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