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Report: Venezuela reneges on $1B debt to Russia; concerns on wider default rise

Venezuela has defaulted on a $1 billion debt to Russia, Latin American Herald Tribune reported, citing Russia's audit committee.

According to the report, Russia's audit chamber had to revise its federal budget for 2017 to include a decrease in the volume of returns on public finance and export credits by 53.9 billion Russian rubles, or about $950 million, "which is associated with the failure of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela terms of the intergovernmental Russian-Venezuelan Protocol of 23/26 September 2016."

The September 2016 protocol was a renegotiation of Venezuela's default to Russia from the previous year and the second restructuring of the debt, the report said.

In conjunction, an anonymous person requested the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, to look into Venezuela's default on Russia and whether it could trigger a broader default, the Financial Times reported, noting the request followed the LAHT report. The ISDA's determinations committees determine if credit-default swaps, a type of insurance against defaults, are prompted and should be paid.

Meanwhile, Venezuela also failed to pay $30 million in loan interest to Inter-American Development Bank, or CAF, and has already entered a 30-day grace period, Reuters reported June 8, citing two unnamed legislative sources.

One of the sources said the South American country "enters a contractual grace period, before declaring cessation of payments." The sources, however, did not know which loans were tied to the delayed interest payments.

On the other hand, another source told the newswire that Venezuela has failed to pay interest payments on the agreed date before but eventually "ends up paying."

CAF later responded, denying that Venezuela had entered a grace period on its loan payments, Reuters reported June 9, citing an email from the development bank that said "at this moment, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is up to date on its obligations."