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Panel Rules Venezuela Won't Have to Pay $1.4B to ExxonMobil

FILE - A sign for the ExxonMobil Torerance Refinery in Torrance, California, Jan. 30, 2012

A World Bank arbitration panel has determined that Venezuela will not have to pay $1.4 billion to ExxonMobil for confiscating company assets during a wave of nationalizations.

ExxonMobil asked the bank's investment dispute panel for $12 billion for the seizure of its Cerro Negro facilities in the Orinoco Basin under then-President Hugo Chavez. The panel awarded $1.4 billion, a decision that was appealed by Venezuela.

The Washington-based panel issued a ruling Friday that annulled most of a $1.6 million judgment against Venezuela. The decision was celebrated in Caracas, where the socialist government is facing a cash shortfall triggered by collapsing oil production in recent years.

A lawyer for Venezuela said the decision as "correct and courageous."

ExxonMobil did not immediately respond to a request for comment.