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Venezuela Jails PDVSA Managers For Providing Oil Data To U.S.

Venezuela has jailed for five years two former managers at its state oil firm PDVSA for providing sensitive data about Venezuelan oil operations to the United States, Venezuela’s attorney general Tarek William Saab has said.

The two manager, Alfredo Chirinos and Aryenis Torrealba, were arrested last year and were sentenced to five years in jail last week for “disclosing or supplying” information, the attorney general said in a statement posted on Twitter.  

Chirinos was a special operations chief at PDVSA and Torrealba was the state oil firm’s general manager of crude operations.  

“These officials leaked sensitive and confidential information from the oil industry, which resulted in the imposition of sanctions by the US government, which have caused significant financial damage to the industry by limiting the marketing of its products internationally,” Saab said in a statement after the end of the trial, which included seven hearings.

According to the parents of the two former PDVSA managers, they supported the “Socialist Revolution” of Nicolas Maduro, but have been singled out as criminals because they had publicly spoken about corruption at Venezuela’s state oil firm, Reuters reported.

At the end of last year, Venezuela’s regime arrested oil workers or retired oil workers who had dared to expose the corruption and mismanagement at PDVSA and its dire financial, operational, and working conditions, Argus reported at the time. Venezuela’s military intelligence and its national intelligence service Sebin arrested retired PDVSA worker Guillermo Zarraga, who is also a union official, in November and accused him of terrorism over the explosion of a crude distillation unit at one Venezuelan refinery in late October. 

Leaks about the state of neglect and dangerous conditions at PDVSA often end up in media outlets, which cite internal PDVSA sources. Now, Maduro’s regime seems to have moved to silence the dissidents.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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