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U.S. Citgo 6 executives back to jailed after Guaido-Trump meeting

Global Research

Former Citgo executives, the group includes former Citgo acting president Jose Angel Pereira and board members and vice presidents Tomeu Vadell, Gustavo Cardenas, Jorge Toledo, Alirio Zambrano and Jose Luis Zambrano.

By Argus

Petroleumworld 02 07 2020

Six former Citgo executives detained in Venezuela since 2017 on corruption charges were jailed again yesterday, just hours after opposition leader Juan Guaido met US President Donald Trump in the White House.

It is unclear who ordered the arrests of the men who previously worked for state-owned PdV's US-based refining subsidiary, or where they are now being held, a senior palace official tells Argus .

Relatives of three of the six executives said the government's intelligence service (Sebin) picked up the men last night at private residences where they had been under house arrest since December 2019, guarded by the defense ministry's military counterintelligence service (Dgcim).

Five of the six are naturalized US citizens who were born in Venezuela. The sixth is a legal permanent US resident. Venezuela's constitution and criminal code considers the six men Venezuelan nationals for life and does not recognize their legal status as naturalized US citizens or permanent US residents.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro has not confirmed if the men were jailed again. Officials at the attorney general's office and the interior and justice ministry declined to comment.

Citgo said it continues to support US government efforts to secure the release of the men, who have now been held for more than two years without trial. It also continues to support their families cover legal expenses, health care coverage, and more.

"Citgo believes that the detention of these men as political prisoners violates their fundamental human rights, including the right to due process under law," the company said.

The group includes former Citgo acting president Jose Angel Pereira and board members and vice presidents Tomeu Vadell, Gustavo Cardenas, Jorge Toledo, Alirio Zambrano and Jose Luis Zambrano.

The six are accused of organized crime and corruption for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud Citgo's parent firm, PdV, of $4bn through a bogus loan.

The Venezuelan judge presiding over their case has rescheduled procedural hearings more than 50 times since November 2017. Local attorneys critical of the Maduro government claim it is a scheme to use them as potential bargaining chips with the US.

By Argus Media 02 06


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