The six former directors of the Venezuelan company Citgo -a subsidiary of the state oil company PDVSA on USA– who had been convicted of corruption last year, and placed under house arrest, were returned to prison this Saturday in retaliation for the extradition to the United States of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman considered a front man of Nicolas Maduro.
The lawyer of the detained former PDVSA directors, María Alejandra Poleo, confirmed that José Pereira, Tomeu Vadell Recalde, Jorge Luis Toledo Kohury, Gustavo Adolfo Cárdenas Cardona, Alirio and José Zambrano, who have Venezuelan and American nationality, are being held at the headquarters of the Intelligence Service in Caracas (Sebin).
The lawyer said that the authorities informed her that they would be returned to the cell they formerly occupied when they were arrested, accused of signing contracts that compromised the future of Citgo, a subsidiary of the state oil company PDVSA.
The lawyer also expressed her concern for Alirio Zambrano, who suffers from a lung disease, for which he must sleep attached to an oxygen machine.
The arrest came after the extradition of Saab – alleged front man of the illegitimate President Maduro – from Cape Verde, where he had been detained for more than a year and a half, was known to the United States to be tried for crimes of corruption, a fact that Poleo relates to the return to prison of his clients.
“And as a result of the extradition of Alex Saab, again the six from Citgo are used as bargaining chips. They were transferred to the Sebin (Bolivarian Intelligence Service) for a presumed medical examination, “the lawyer initially wrote on Twitter, adding that she expected them to” return home to jail, “but it did not happen.
The Venezuelan authorities have not yet ruled on the arrest of the six former directors of Citgo, who, on November 26, were sentenced to between 13 and almost nine years in prison for crimes related to corruption.
However, in April of this year they were issued a house arrest measure.
In November 2017, the attorney general of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, reported on the arrest of these citizens after they signed contracts that “compromised the national patrimony and the future” of the PDVSA subsidiary “without the approval of the Executive National”.
“Citgo’s senior management on July 15, 2017 signed an international agreement with the companies Frontier Group Management and Apolo Global Management, based on an alleged refinancing of the debt programs of 2014 and 2015,” Saab said in That moment.
This, the prosecutor explained, to request loans “under leonine, unfavorable conditions” for the Venezuelan oil industry and “offering as collateral” the subsidiary itself.
Citgo is the main oil refiner and marketer of gasoline, lubricant and petrochemicals that Venezuela has in the United States.