Local Repsol YPF Chief Resigns

One of the two senior executives of Spanish oil company Repsol YPF's (NYSE: REP) Bolivian subsidiary Petrolera Andina arrested last week has resigned in the wake of smuggling charges, Repsol said in a statement.

Repsol YPF Bolivia president and Andina VP Julio Gavito resigned for "personal reasons," but will remain in Bolivia to defend the company against the charges.

Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant after Gavito failed to appear in court on March 9 to address charges that Andina smuggled US$9.22mn worth of crude.

Repsol YPF appointed Luis Garcia Sanchez to replace Gavito as manager of the company's Bolivian operations, the statement said. Sanchez will leave his post of LPG Andina president in Peru and assume the new position on March 23.

Pedro Sanchez, the other senior executive arrested last week, will continue working as Repsol YPF Bolivia COO, a Repsol YPF spokesperson told BNamericas.

Prosecutors brought charges against Andina in mid-February after a five-month investigation determined the company smuggled 230,399 barrels of oil out of the country from June 2004-July 2005. Of the total, 85% left through Yacuiba city and the rest through the Chile's Arica port.

Despite the legal issues, Repsol YPF "maintains the decision to continue with all operations in Bolivia in a climate of judicial security as well as clear and stable rules that permit facing up to the large energy challenges in increasing the economic and social development of the country," the statement said.

The Spanish company controls 50% of Andina and Bolivia's government the other half.

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