HOUSTON – The Venezuelan government released a group of US refinery officials from imprisonment in Caracas to House Arrest on Friday in a possible sign that President Nicolas Maduro would like to improve relations with the Biden administration.
Six executives of Houston-based Citgo Petroleum, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company, have been hired On corruption charges Since 2017, he was ordered to attend a budget meeting in Venezuela. When they arrived, they were arrested.
The group – known as “Citgo 6” – had previously been allowed to return to private homes from prison, only to be sent back to prison.
Former New Richards governor Bill Richardson, who is trying to release five of the six, five of whom are US citizens and the other one is a US resident – said he considers a sign of progress.
“A positive and important step that will help secure their well-being during the Kovid-19 outbreak in Venezuela,” Mr. Richardson said in a statement.
The men have been accused of money laundering and embezzlement with a $ 4 billion sitgo deal that never materialized. They are usually seen Pawn conversation As to the relationship between the United States and Venezuela Has deteriorated In recent years.
When the officials were last released from prison two years ago, they were then President Donald J. Were back to jail after trump Invited Juan Guedo, A top opposition leader in the White House.
Mr. Guadou has been formally recognized as the President of Venezuela by the United States and other Western nations, but he seems unlikely to ever take control of the government. Mr. Maduro remains in power with tight grip and aid from Cuba, Russia and China.
Citgo operates three major refineries, a major pipeline network and scores of gasoline stations around the United States. It is currently barred from doing business with Venezuela under US sanctions.