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The daily business briefing: November 27, 2020

A Venezuelan judge found six American executives guilty Thursday, sentencing them to lengthy prison terms three years after they were arrested on corruption charges. The defendants are all employees of the Houston-based refining company Citgo, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. They maintain their innocence. Five of the men, all U.S. citizens —Gustavo Cárdenas, Jorge Toledo, Jose Luis Zambrano and Alirio Zambrano — were sentenced to eight years and 10 months, while Jose Peireira, a permanent resident of the U.S., received 13 years. In November 2017, the so-called Citgo 6 arrived in Caracas for what they told was a business meeting. Once they were in the boardroom, however, Venezuelan military intelligence officers entered, demanded their passports, and arrested them. They were charged with embezzlement tied to a never-executed proposal to refinance $4 billion of Citgo bonds, NPR notes. Appeals will be made for the defendants. [The Associated Press, NPR]

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