Venezuela has dared the United States by slamming jail terms on Americans arrested on November 21, 2017.
On Thursday, a Supreme Court judge convicted six former oil executives of corruption.
They were sentenced to confinement ranging from 8 to over 13 years, Dpa reports.
Former interim president of Citgo, Jose Pereira, was sentenced to 13 years and 7 months; five others bagged 8 years and 10 months.
The convicts were found guilty of embezzlement in a scheme to refinance company bonds.
Venezuela says the deal involved bribery and was unfavourable to state-owned PDVSA.
The judgement comes barely a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for their “unconditional release” and return to the U.S.
In a statement, Pompeo said sextet were “lured to Caracas for business meetings, wrongfully detained by masked security agents, and then thrown into one of Venezuela’s most dangerous prisons”.
It also comes 8 months after the U.S. placed a $15million bounty on President Nicolás Maduro.
The reward – for information that could lead to his arrest – followed the accusation by Justice Department that Maduro and 15 others sponsored narco-terrorism and drug smuggling into America.
Venezuela boasts of the world’s largest oil reserves but its production has plummeted due to factors including U.S. sanctions.
Washington is furious that Caracas now imports fuel from Iran.
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