Portugal-based Novo Banco halted a transfer of $1.2 billion by the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to banks in Uruguay, a Venezuelan legislator said, a day after the opposition denounced what they called the theft of public funds.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who most European and Western Hemisphere nations have recognized as the country’s legitimate leader, said on Monday that authorities were trying to move up to $1.2 billion to banks in Uruguay.
Countries around the world are pressuring Maduro to resign amid a hyperinflationary economic crisis that has led millions to emigrate. His adversaries warn that officials are seeking to drain state coffers ahead of a potential change of government.
“They attempted to move Venezuelan government financial assets in Novo Banco in Portugal worth some $1.2 billion toward Uruguayan banks,” said legislator Carlos Paparoni during a congressional session on Tuesday.
“I’m pleased to inform the Venezuelan people that this transaction has until now been halted, protecting the resources of all Venezuelans.”
Venezuela’s Information Ministry, which handles all media inquiries, did not immediately respond to a request to comment.