Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido


The Big Law dispute over who represents the rightful leader of Venezuela has seemingly come to an end.

In a Monday court filing, Venable attorneys representing the government of  Nicolas Maduro submitted a withdrawal of appearance notice in a U.S. federal court case.

The case has acted as a proxy for the dispute over Venezuela’s leadership between Venable and Arnold & Porter, who is representing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

“The Clerk of the Court is hereby requested to withdraw the appearance of Moxila A. Upadhyaya, Michael B. MacWilliams, and Venable LLP as counsel to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” the firm wrote in court filings.

Last month, in court filings dated Feb. 12, Arnold & Porter argued that since Guaido had been recognized by the United States as Venezuela’s leader, they should represent Venezuela in a case involving a demand by a Canadian gold producer for compensation tied to Venezuela’s expropriation of its property.

On Feb. 22, Venable filed a response to the motion for a stay on behalf of Venezuela’s attorney general of the republic, Reinaldo Muñoz Pedroza, objecting to the idea that ”the Republic has no right to participate in these proceedings by virtue of President Trump’s official statement.”

On Feb. 28, Arnold & Porter attorneys Kent Yalowitz and E. Whitney Debevoise moved to strike the response to the motion of stay, disputing Venable’s claim to rightful representation of Venezuela.

Arnold & Porter has long represented Venezuelan leaders, dating back to 1984, according to U.S. Department of Justice filings under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The firm jumped to Guaido after U.S. President Donald Trump and 50 countries recognized Guaido as the de facto leader of Venezuela.

Venable has represented a variety of interests in Hong Kong, Venezuela and Malaysia since at least 2009, according to FARA filings.

The two firms and their attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.