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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger denied that President Ueli Maurer had talks with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido over freezing bank accounts of Venezuelan officials after "improper handling of the republic's accounts" was discovered.
"There was no contact between Mr Gauido and President Maurer", Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger said as quoted by Swissinfo media outlet.
The statement comes after opposition leader Juan Guaido said on 20 February that the Venezuelan opposition was discussing the possibility of freezing accounts of the Venezuelan government in banks in Switzerland with the country's leadership, adding that he had discussed the issue with Maurer.
In late January, the United States blocked $7 billion in PDVSA assets in its control and banned deals with the entity as part of efforts to help a power transfer. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that by blocking PDVSA assets, the United States was securing the company in the interests of the Venezuelan people. Caracas has criticised the move as criminal and blamed Washington for seeking to get its hands on Venezuelan oil reserves.
The situation in crisis-torn Venezuela escalated on 23 January when Guaido declared himself interim president, disputing last year's reelection of President Nicolas Maduro. Guaido was almost immediately recognised by the United States and some other countries, including Brazil. Russia, China, Mexico, among other nations, voiced support for Maduro, who, in turn, accused Washington of orchestrating a coup.
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