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BREAKING NEWS

Guaido says he's trying to freeze Venezuelan accounts in Switzerland

Guaido says he's trying to freeze Venezuelan accounts in Switzerland
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(Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said he spoke to the president of Switzerland on Wednesday to try to freeze banks accounts belonging to the tumultuous South American nation after "irregular movements" were discovered.

Guaido invoked a constitutional provision to claim the presidency three weeks ago, arguing that Nicolas Maduro's re-election last year was a sham. Since then, Guaido has been trying to control Venezuelan assets overseas.

"We are talking to the Swiss president," Guaido said in an interview with Mexican network Televisa. He said they had spoken on Wednesday morning but did not mention Swiss President Ueli Maurer by name.

Guaido said the Venezuelan government held bank accounts in Switzerland and that irregular efforts to migrate part of those accounts to "another site" had been detected.

"We are doing everything possible to protect these assets that belong to the republic," he said.

He did not say who had detected the movements in the accounts, whether any money had been transferred or give further details.

Most Western countries, including the United States, have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate head of state, but Maduro retains the backing of Russia and China as well as control of state institutions including the military.

(Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Bill Trott)

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