Venezuela Cuts Commercial Ties With 'Corrupt' Panama Firms


Venezuela is halting commercial relations with Panamanian officials and companies, including airline Copa, for alleged involvement in money laundering just days after Panama accused President Nicolas Maduro of similar activities.

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The resolution names Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and nearly two dozen Cabinet ministers and top-ranking officials, alleging that Panama’s financial system had been used by Venezuelan nationals involved in acts of corruption.

The individuals named in the resolution "present an imminent risk to the (Venezuelan) financial system, the stability of commerce in the country, and the sovereignty and economic independence of the Venezuelan people," said the resolution, which was read out on state television.

The statement did not detail whether the move would halt flights by Copa, which is one of the primary providers of foreign flights following the deep reduction in airline service out of Venezuela. 

Copa did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An official at the Panamanian presidency told Reuters there were no representatives available to comment on the issue.

Panama’s economy and finance ministry last month issued an advisory saying that Maduro and some 50 Venezuelan nationals are considered "high risk."



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