The U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), filed a $15 million lawsuit against former Republican Florida Rep. David Rivera’s consulting firm, the New York Times reported.
Facing sanctions from the United States and severe financial hardships, PDVSA’s U.S. subsidiary, PDV USA, hired Rivera’s firm, Interamerican Consulting, for help improving their relationship with American policymakers, according to the New York Times.
To improve their situation, PDV USA entered into a consulting agreement in which Interamerican would be paid $50 million over a period of three months for “strategic consulting services” to develop “a strategic plan to improve PDVSA’s reputation and standing among, and build relationships with, policy makers, opinion leaders, public officials, and targeted stakeholders,” according to the complaint filed Wednesday.
The suit alleges that the former Rivera’s firm “provided just two reports, totaling no more than five pages.” Interamerican “performed no meaningful services,” and despite paying $15 million of the agreed upon $50 million, PDV USA “received no evidence that any services were ever performed” on their behalf. The oil company is seeking to recover $15 million along with “other compensatory damages.”
At the time Rivera’s firm allegedly began working with them, both PDVSA and PDV USA were under the control of President Nicolás Maduro, but after President Donald Trump imposed sanctions, PDV USA and other American assets fell under the control of Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by the United States as Venezuela’s rightful president, the New York Times noted.
When contacted about the lawsuit, the former congressman told the Times to “ask the Citgo 6,” a group of American oil executives who have been imprisoned in Venezuela since 2017. The Times claimed that Rivera seemed to suggest that he was working with the opposition, but said they could not immediately confirm that.
PDV USA’s law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, has not responded to a request for comment.