One of the biggest difficulties in the judicial process has been to officially let Venezuela know its intention to collect the sentence in its favor with confiscated assets from those who depleted their assets.
by Maibort Petit
Casa Express Corp., a company in the state of Florida, United States, is emerging as one of the first plaintiffs in Venezuela for the default in payments of principal and interest on bonds issued by the republic.
A court in New York ruled in their favor and, since then they have struggled to make the judgment effective, having been the notification to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela of its status as debtor of the aforementioned judgment, one of its greatest difficulties. Two months ago, a Florida court settled the matter, so now it only remains for the plaintiff to achieve her mission. The Court of the Southern District of New York ruled that Casa Express should charge USD 43,360,535.15 for capital and interest on the unpaid bonds by Venezuela, a money that the plaintiff seeks to collect with assets of the Venezuelan republic in the United States. This task seeks to fulfill it in Florida where, for this, it registered the sentence in one of its courts. Real estate owned by Raúl Gorrín and Alejandro Andrade with irregular funds depleted to Venezuela, are their target. In this installment we disclose the proceedings of Casa Express and its lawyers to comply with the notification, as well as the details of the sentence.
Certification from the Court of New York
On May 6, 2021, the clerk of the Court for the Southern District of New York issued a certification of judgment on November 23, 2020 in the case in which Casa Express Corp., as trustee of Casa Express Trust, sued the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
About the Author
Maibort Petit is a Venezuelan writer, researcher and political scientist specialized in Transnational Organized Crime. Based in New York, she works for various Hispanic media outlets and as a consultant for various firms in New York and Washington DC.
On September 23, 2021, Analisa Torres, judge of the Southern District of New York, modified and remade the sentence previously issued in favor of Casa Express Trust and against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
In this regard, the magistrate ordered, adjudicated and decreed that the Express Trust house recover, first, USD 1,845,000 corresponding to the unpaid and unpaid capital owed since August 15, 2018, plus USD 754,143.78 corresponding to six semi-annual interest payments due and unpaid due on February 15, 2018, August 15, 2018, February 15, 2019, August 15, 2019, February 15, 2020 and August 15, 2020.
Likewise, USD 94,712.19 corresponding to 9 percent simple interest, the legal pre-trial interest rate, in force until October 7, 2020, on each of the six semi-annual interest payments due and defaulted indicated above.
Also USD 36,310.63 for interest on the USD 1,845,000 of unpaid capital at a rate of 13.625 percent computed from August 16, 2020 to October 7, 2020).
USD 7,958.07 corresponding to the payment of an additional USD 884.23 per day in contractual interest on unpaid principal and pre-trial legal interest on unpaid semi-annual interest for each calendar day after October 7, 2020 until October 16, 2020.
Also, attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of USD 150,000 plus interest after the judgment.
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On the other hand, Judge Torres determined to the bonds issued by Venezuela designated ISIN USP939PAA95, that Casa Express Trust will recover USD 27,170,000 corresponding to the outstanding capital from August 15, 2018, plus USD 11,105,737.50 for six semi-annual interest payments due and defaulted due on February 15, 2018, August 15, 2018, February 15, 2019, August 15, 2019, February 15, 2020, and August 15, 2020.
To this must be added USD 1,394,758.92 corresponding to the 9 percent of simple interest, legal interest rate prior to the judgment, in force until October 7, 2020, on each of the six semi-annual interest payments due and unpaid indicated above.
Likewise, USD 534,720.69 for interest on the USD 27,170,000 of unpaid capital at a rate of 13.625 percent computed between August 16, 2020 and October 7, 2020, plus USD 117,193.41 corresponding to the payment of USD 13,021.49 additional per day in interest on the contract on the unpaid capital and legal interest prior to the trial on the unpaid semi-annual interest for each subsequent calendar day between 7 October 2020 and October 16, 2020).
A payment of USD 150,000 was set for lawyers' fees and costs plus interest after the judgment. The overall total of the judgment was USD 43,360,535.15.
Notification through diplomatic channels
On October 29, 2021, Andrés Gamardo, on behalf of Casa Express Corp. asked the Court for the Southern District of Florida, to issue an order for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to go through diplomatic channels of its status as debtor of the judgment.
The request was made pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1608(a)(4) of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), stating that the Clerk of Court be ordered to subpoena Venezuela.
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For Casa Express, it was essential that the subpoena to Venezuela be produced in order for it to present its response and advance the process. It is indicated that the attorneys of Planet 2 Reaching Inc., Posh 8 Dynamic Inc., RIM Group Investments Corp., RIM Group Investments I Corp., RIM Group Investments II Corp., RIM Group Investments II Corp., were consulted with the aim of resolving the case by settlement of the issues raised in the Motion. The lawyers expressed their opposition to the requested reparation.
The summons would inform the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that a lawsuit had been filed against it and that it had 60 days from the notification to deliver to the plaintiff a response to the motion or a motion under Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
The Court activates diplomatic notification
On November 17, 2021, federal judge Beth Bloom ordered the clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to issue a subpoena to Venezuela through diplomatic channels.
On November 22, 2021, Angela Noble, Secretary of the United States District Court Southern District of Florida proceeded to notify the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela of the action against her through international services.