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The so-called ‘Citgo 6’—six U.S. oil executives at Citgo who were detained in Venezuela more than two years ago and released under house arrest in December 2019—were rounded up by Venezuela’s intelligence police just after Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó met with U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House, Associated Press reports, citing a family member of the oil executives.
While President Trump was hosting in the White House Juan Guaidó, who is the legitimate president of Venezuela according to the U.S. and many other Western countries, the intelligence police of Nicolas Maduro, SEBIN, took the six executives from their homes on Wednesday night, the brother of two of the men told AP.
The current whereabouts of the six oil executives are unknown, Alirio Zambrano, the brother of two of them, told AP.
The six U.S. executives at Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-held oil firm PDVSA, were detained by Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela in November 2017 and the ‘Citgo 6’ sat in jail two years after their detention.
Venezuela arrested the six executives as part of a corruption sweep at an event in Caracas in November 2017. Maduro said a week later that all six - five of whom are US citizens and one holding a permanent residency permit for the United States - would be tried as traitors.
Back then, U.S. authorities requested that its nationals be released, but Maduro refused, saying “These are people born in Venezuela, they’re Venezuelan and they’re going to be judged for being corrupt, thieving traitors.”
Last December, Venezuela released the six Citgo executives under house arrest.
The executives were only brought to court in the middle of 2019, after 18 months in prison. During that hearing, the presiding judge accepted the prosecution’s request for a trial on corruption charges without setting a date.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.