Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) / Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg

A group of 20 Holland & Knight partners with experience in sanctions and trade, corporate and tax, energy and natural resources, real estate and hospitality, and international disputes have formed a Venezuela focus team to assist clients with interests in Venezuela.

Jose Sirven

In January, the United States levied heavy sanctions on Venezuelan oil giant Petroleos De Venezuela SA (PdVSA). The sanctions prohibit U.S. companies from doing business with PDVSA and its subsidiaries, including U.S.-based distributor CITGO, and are estimated to freeze around $7 billion in PdVSA assets with wide-ranging effects outside of the United States and in the oil industry. The new sanctions come on top of restrictions imposed on Venezuela in 2017 and the sanctioning of over 60 Venezuelan military officials.

Holland & Knight will leverage its 175-attorney Latin America practice and its two-decade relationship with Venezuelan firm Tinoco Travieso Planchart & Nuñez. The two firms have jointly represented dozens of clients on Venezuelan matters, from entry into the Venezuelan market, mergers and acquisitions, issues relating to exiting the country, dealing with expropriation issues and litigation and arbitration relating to disputes with the current government.

“Many of our clients hope positive changes will emanate from recent events,” Jose Sirven, the Miami-based co-chair of the team, said in a statement. “We are beginning to get expressions of interest from many clients for a return to what was once a thriving market.”