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OFAC sanctions 2 involved in Citgo 6 sentencing

Today, OFAC sanctioned the following persons under the Venezuela-related program:

CORNIELLES RUIZ, Lorena Carolina, Coche Miguel Otero Silva Vereda 80, Casa 3, Caracas, Venezuela; DOB 03 Jul 1988; nationality Venezuela; Gender Female; Cedula No. V-18967792 (Venezuela) (individual) [VENEZUELA].

TORRES ESPINOZA, Ramon Antonio, Castillejo Principal del Portico 0301, Guatire, Venezuela; DOB 13 Sep 1968; nationality Venezuela; Gender Male; Cedula No. V-6303894 (Venezuela) (individual) [VENEZUELA]. 

And the State Department had the following to say:

The United States is designating the Venezuelan judge and prosecutor who presided over and prosecuted the November 2020 trial and sentencing of six U.S. persons known as the “Citgo 6.”  These Americans have been unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017 after being lured to Caracas under false pretenses.

Lorena Carolina Cornielles Ruiz (Cornielles) presided over the trial of the Citgo 6 while Ramon Antonio Torres Espinoza (Torres) was the prosecutor representing the illegitimate Maduro regime.  As such, these two officials played critical roles in the kangaroo court trials of each of the Citgo executives.  These proceedings were marred by a lack of fair trial guarantees and based on politically motivated charges, and media and human rights groups were denied access to the trials.

These six men and their families have suffered long enough.  It is time for Maduro to release the Citgo 6 and let them be reunited with their families.

As did Treasury:

PRESS RELEASES

Treasury Designates Venezuelan Officials Involved in Unjust Trial of the “Citgo 6”

Washington – Today, the U.S. 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 U.S. persons in Venezuela. The six U.S. persons, known as the “Citgo 6,” are Citgo executives who were unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela in November 2017 after being lured to Caracas under false pretenses. The trials of each of the executives were based on politically motivated charges and marred by a lack of fair trial guarantees. Media and human rights groups denounced the treatment of the executives and were denied access to the trials.

“The unjust detention and sentencing of these six U.S. persons further demonstrates how corruption and abuse of power are deeply embedded in Venezuela’s institutions,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States remains committed to protecting its citizens and targeting those who contribute to the illegitimate Maduro regime’s usurpation of power in Venezuela.”

These individuals were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13692, as amended.

LORENA CAROLINA CORNIELLES RUIZ 

Lorena Carolina Cornielles Ruiz (Cornielles) is a judge in the Executive Directorate of the Maduro-aligned Venezuelan Supreme Court who presided over the trial of the Citgo 6. Cornielles ultimately sentenced each of the six U.S. persons on charges of corruption with prison sentences between eight and thirteen years.  

RAMON ANTONIO TORRES ESPINOZA

Ramon Antonio Torres Espinoza (Torres) is a corruption prosecutor at the Public Ministry of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Torres was the primary prosecutor representing the Maduro regime during the Citgo 6 trial.

Today, Cornielles and Torres were designated pursuant to E.O. 13692 for being current or former officials of the Government of Venezuela.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons designated that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated persons are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or those within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior. The United States has made clear that the removal of sanctions may be available for individuals and entities, including those designated pursuant to E.O. 13692, who take concrete and meaningful actions to stop providing support to the illegitimate Maduro regime, including to those Government of Venezuela agencies that support Maduro.

Links:

OFAC Notice

State Department Press Release

Treasury Department Press Release

Categories: OFAC Updates Sanctions Lists Venezuela sanctions

eric9to5

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