00:49 GMT16 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United Stated has imposed sanctions on a Venezuelan judge and prosecutor over their roles in the sentencing of six former US executives of CITGO oil company, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

    "Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Venezuelan judge Lorena Carolina Cornielles Ruiz and Venezuelan prosecutor Ramon Antonio Torres Espinoza, the Venezuelan government officials who presided over and prosecuted the November 2020 trial and sentencing of six US persons in Venezuela", the statement said.

    In November, the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal sentenced to prison terms six former US executives of CITGO oil company, a subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA, on corruption charges.

    According to the local media, Jose Pereira, the CITGO ex-president, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for embezzlement, cooperation with contractors and criminal association. Another five former executives were sentenced to jail terms ranging from eight to ten years.

    In November 2017, the executives were detained in Caracas and transferred to the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence after which they were placed under house arrest in 2019.

    The Latin American country has been a target of US sanctions for at least 5 years. The restrictions, targeting oil company PDVSA and other entities, escalated after Washington refused to recognise the nation's 2018 presidential elections and backed the self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, who at the time headed the country's National Assembly.

    According to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the US and its allies were using sanctions to depose him and get access to the country's assets and oil and gas resources.

    sanctions, Venezuela, US
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