‘CITGO 6’ oil executives released to house arrest in Venezuela, report says

This undated photo posted on Twitter on June 18, 2020 by Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, shows CITGO oil executives Jose Angel Pereira, from left to right, Gustavo Cardenas, Jorge Toledo, Jose Luis Zambrano, Tomeu Vadell and Alirio Jose Zambrano, standing outside the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, in Caracas, Venezuela. The men have been jailed for over two years since officials under Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked them to travel from the Houston-based CITGO headquarters for a meeting, when they were arrested. ((Posted on Twitter by Jorge Arreaza/Venezuela's Foreign Ministry via AP))

Five United States citizens and a Venezuelan citizen who were serving prison time in Caracas have been released and are now on house arrest, two lawyers for the men and a former US governor lobbying for their release told CNN.

Known as the “CITGO 6,” the group consisted of former executives of CITGO that were arrested in 2017 on embezzlement charges from a never-executed proposal to refinance some $4 billion in CITGO bonds by offering a 50% stake in the company as collateral. Last year, they were sentenced to between 8 and 13 years in prison.

According to CNN, attorneys Maria Alejandra Poleo and Jesus Loreto told the network the six were released from prison on Friday night in Caracas and were on their way home.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza retweeted a message on Friday calling the release a goodwill “gesture” to honor the “agenda of the new White House.”

The network said Poleo told them that “we have been asking a revision of the jail order for a long time, and we welcome the fact the court decided to revert to house arrest today... We do not know what prompted this ruling from the court, but we take it as a political gesture of goodwill towards the United States.”

About the Author: