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Judge in Venezuela Convicts 6 U.S. Oil Executives of Corruption

  • November 27, 2020

Before the sentencing, one of the executives, Mr. Vadell, who has been imprisoned in Venezuela for three years, said in a letter provided to The Associated Press that all he hoped for was a fair trial so that he could clear his name and go home to his family in the United States. Mr. Vadell’s lawyer has maintained he is innocent of the charges.

Mr. Vadell, 61, said that it was especially painful to be separated during the Thanksgiving season from his wife, three adult children and a newborn grandson he’s never held.

“Before living this tragedy, these celebrations were very special times for our family,” he wrote, saying that he embraced the traditional American holiday after moving in 1999 from Caracas to Lake Charles, La., for a job with the Venezuelan-owned Citgo. “Now, they bring me a lot of sadness,” he said.

It was the first time that Mr. Vadell, or any of the Citgo 6, had spoken publicly since being arrested.

Mr. Vadell and five other Citgo executives were summoned to the headquarters of the Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA, the parent company of the Houston-based Citgo, for what they had been told was a budget meeting on Nov. 21, 2017. A corporate jet shuttled them to Caracas and they were told they’d be home for Thanksgiving.

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