17:56 GMT27 January 2021
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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Hundreds of corrupt employees in Venezuela's oil and gas industry are acting in the interests of the United States and in cooperation with its intelligence, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said.

    "There are thousands of cases of infiltration into the oil industry through the US Embassy here in Venezuela. If they bribed the head of the oil industry, corrupted him, lured [former Energy Minister and former Representative to the UN] Rafael Ramirez away, what can you think about the current level of infiltration into the oil industry?" Maduro said during a press conference, which was broadcast on Twitter.

    Asked by a journalist about the arrest of two young employees of the state oil and gas company PDVSA on espionage charges, Maduro said that the United States, through its intelligence agencies - the National Security Agency and the CIA - had infiltrated and bribed hundreds of people in the oil industry.

    "We are gradually clearing the industry of these agents," the Venezuelan president said.

    Venezuela continues to increase the volume of its oil exports despite US attempts to cut it off from potential buyers.

    Maduro reportedly accused the White House of staging several unsuccessful coup attempts to overthrow his government, one in April 2018 and one in May 2019, as well as orchestrating acts of sabotage on the Venezuelan energy sector. The US has never commented on those allegations.

    oil, United States, US, Venezuela
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