CITGO says CEO’s U.S. visa has been revoked

(Reuters) – Citgo Petroleum Corp [PDVSAC.UL], the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], said on Wednesday that the United States had revoked the visa of its president and chief executive Asdrubal Chavez, cousin of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez, but it did not say why.

The logo of PDVSA’s U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum is seen at a gas station in Stowell, Texas, U.S., June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Late on Wednesday U.S. State Department spokesman Noel Clay said the United States has broad authority to revoke visas, but does not discuss individual cases because they are confidential under U.S. law.

A Citgo spokeswoman said in a statement that the “day-to-day operations of CITGO remain uninterrupted and senior leadership remains unchanged.”

Chavez was named head of Citgo by Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro in 2017.

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump signed economic sanctions against Venezuela striking at its oil business by banning U.S. citizens and residents from buying Venezuela debt for cash. The sanctions appeared in part to target Citgo.

Trump previously imposed individual and economic sanctions on Venezuela’s government, accusing it of rights abuses and corruption. They included sanctions against state-run companies, dozens of officials close to Maduro, and Maduro himself. Adan Chavez, the late president’s brother, was among those sanctioned.

Reporting by Houston energy desk; Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang, Toni Reinhold

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