Lobbying for Venezuela: PDVSA paid $180.000 to Venn Strategies LLC, $20.000 to Shearman & Sterling
By Aleksander Boyd
London 27.03.05 | On March 09 2004 the Secretary of the USA's Senate aknowledged receipt of a registration form (identification number 65191-722) that on behalf of VENN STRATEGIES LLC  was presented by Stephanie E. Silverman . The client disclosed in the form was Petroleos de Venezuela and the specific lobbying issue had to do with a "comercial matter before the OPIC". The midyear report, received on August 03 2004, shows that $100.000 were paid for lobbying activities  and another $80.000 were disboursed according to the year end and termination filling, whose date of receipt was February 14 2005 .
As informed readers ought to know PDVSA had a legal battle with San Diego's Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), that was taken by the latter to OPIC. In the website of the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington, former PDVSA president Ali Rodriguez is quoted as saying "We have every reason to believe that OPIC’s decision was based on prevailing politics in Washington, D.C., and the desire to satisfy a politically powerful U.S. company, rather than on the facts" . Rodriguez provides his opinion based on a number of facts, reinforced in another article, also posted in the Embassy's website , by the perception of a legal expert by the name of Thomas B. Wilner, identified as "a partner with the prestigious law firm of Shearman & Sterling" (sic), who commented regarding the OPIC's decision in favour of SAIC "This is one of the strangest decisions that I have seen in more than 30 years of practicing law in Washington. There is no basis for this decision in either the facts or in the law. The OPIC decision has no merit whatsoever" (sic). Furthermore since Wilner was " surprised by the enormous political pressure that has been put on PDVSA and Venezuela from the highest levels of the U.S. Government for what is such a modest commercial dispute" (sic)  he undertook lobbying tasks in favour of PDVSA before the House of Representatives and the Department of Treasury with respect to what he considered a "false calim of expropiation" (sic). Evidence of this and of amounts paid -$20.000- can be seen in the Office of Public Records of the US Senate .
Regarding the matter John C. K. Daly reported on UPI Energy Watch on July 16 2004 the following:
U.S. Newswire has this remark:
One must wonder how does that statement pegges with the recent land confiscations of El Charcote and Hato Piñero...
On a different note it is worth noting that even though the relationship between VENN STRATEGIES LLC and PDVSA officially ended in 2004 the latter does not figure among the clients of VENN .
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