Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Exxon puts squeeze on Venuzuela

[Thanks to Nora for this post]

Venezuelans' assets frozen by US

The two men are accused of raising funds for Hezbollah

The US Treasury Department has frozen the US assets of two Venezuelan nationals for alleged links with the radical Islamist group, Hezbollah.

The men include one of the country's official representatives in Lebanon.

Ghazi Nasr Din, director of political interests of the Venezuelan embassy in Lebanon, is accused of raising funds for the Islamist group.

The other man, Fawzi Kan'an, rejected the accusations as baseless in a BBC interview.

Mr Kan'an operates two travel agencies in Caracas that have also been blacklisted by the US.

The latest move also prohibits Americans from doing business with the two men.

The move is likely to add to the existing rift between the Bush Administration and the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, correspondents say....



Venezuela's Chavez says oil could reach $300 Mon Jul 14, 2008 MARACAIBO

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday oil prices could hit $300 per barrel if U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil again freezes Venezuelan assets in a dispute over a nationalized oil project.

Exxon won court orders freezing $12 billion in assets held by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA after the OPEC nation took over a multi-billion dollar oil project, heightening tensions with the United States and helping to raise oil prices.

A London court later overturned Exxon's temporary asset freeze, but Chavez said the company could seek further action against Venezuela.

"If they freeze us there will be no more oil for the United States, and the price will go to $300," Chavez said during a televised meeting with Caribbean and Central American leaders as part of an energy cooperation scheme called Petrocaribe.

Chavez also said oil prices were being influenced by a "speculative bubble", the collapse of which could send prices as low as $70 per barrel....

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