Venezuela sanctions set off fight for ‘plundered’ oil cargo

In this April 29, 2020 photo, Venezuelan shipping magnate Wilmer Ruperti smokes a cigarette during an interview in Caracas, Venezuela. As a result of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, a high-stakes legal fight in U.S. federal court is pitting Ruperti against Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Marinakis, in connection with oil tanker Alkimos carrying high octane gasoline estimated to be worth millions. (AP Photo/Scott Smith)

MIAMI (AP) — U.S. federal marshals are getting ready to auction off Wednesday a cargo of 100,000 barrels of gasoline that have been floating in a tanker off the Gulf Coast of Texas for two months amid a high-stakes legal fight over American sanctions on Venezuela. The dispute pits one of Greece’s most powerful businessmen and owner of popular soccer club Olympiakos against a fellow shipping magnate from Venezuela who has a history of helping out the country’s socialist leaders. The ship was hired to transport the gasoline to a ship near Aruba but along the way its owners suspected the cargo’s real destination was Venezuela and turned back to avoid potentially violating sanctions. A federal judge in Houston agreed and seized the cargo while arbitration continues.