Venezuelan court sentences six former Citgo executives to prison

The six have denied wrongdoing and a lawyer on their defence group mentioned they deliberate to attraction.

A Venezuelan court docket sentenced six former executives of United States refiner Citgo to jail after discovering them responsible of corruption on Thursday.

The officers have been arrested in November 2017 after being known as into a gathering on the Caracas workplace of state oil firm PDVSA, which owns Citgo. They have been accused of crimes similar to embezzlement, cash laundering and conspiracy.

The previous president of the corporate, Jose Pereira, was fined $2m and sentenced to 13 years and 7 months in jail, whereas the 5 others – former Citgo vice presidents Jose Luis Zambrano, Alirio Jose Zambrano, Jorge Toledo, Tomeu Vadell and Gustavo Cardenas – have been sentenced to greater than eight years in jail.

The six denied wrongdoing and a lawyer on their defence group mentioned they deliberate to attraction.

“The proof for the crimes they’re accused of was not there, it didn’t even point out the six of them,” mentioned the lawyer, Maria Alejandra.

“The defence, we have been prepared for this determination as a result of they’re political prisoners.”

Venezuela’s info ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark from Reuters information company.

A relative of one of many sentenced males mentioned the households are in communication with US officers.

Venezuela opposition chief Juan Guaido took management of Houston-based Citgo, Venezuela’s most worthwhile abroad asset, in 2019 after the USA recognised him because the nation’s respectable president.

Washington has known as for the discharge of the group, which incorporates naturalised US residents.

President Nicolas Maduro retains management of most state capabilities and the Venezuelan operations of PDVSA, that are below US-imposed sanctions.