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Venezuela prosecutors seek to ban opposition leader from leaving country

Juan Guaido has declared himself interim president although Nicolas Maduro remains in the country’s presidential palace.

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Opposition National Assembly President Juan Guaido (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Opposition National Assembly President Juan Guaido (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Opposition National Assembly President Juan Guaido (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor is seeking to ban opposition leader Juan Guaido from leaving the country as part of a criminal probe into his anti-government activities.

Tarek William Saab made the request to the government-stacked Supreme Court on Tuesday.

He also asked the high court to block the financial accounts of Mr Guaido who has been recognised by some countries, including the US, as interim leader of the South American nation.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro jogs alongside his defence minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, right, and soldiers (Marcelo Garcia/AP)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro jogs alongside his defence minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, right, and soldiers (Marcelo Garcia/AP)

AP/PA Images

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro jogs alongside his defence minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, right, and soldiers (Marcelo Garcia/AP)

Mr Saab did not specify what crimes Mr Guaido is being investigated for.

He only said it was tied to the unrest sparked by his decision to declare himself interim president last week in a direct challenge to President Nicolas Maduro’s authority.

Mr Guaido heads the nation’s congress and he has been recognised as the nation’s rightful leader by two dozen nations that contend the re-election of socialist Mr Maduro was a sham, in part because his strongest opponents were barred from running.

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Workers and customers gather at a wholesale food market in Caracas (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Workers and customers gather at a wholesale food market in Caracas (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

AP/PA Images

Workers and customers gather at a wholesale food market in Caracas (Rodrigo Abd/AP)

Meanwhile, Mr Guaido has said US sanctions against the state-owned oil company fall in line with requests politicians have made to “protect” the nation’s assets abroad.

Mr Guaido said in an interview with CNN in Spanish that Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress approved a measure in January asking foreign nations to ensure the country’s assets are not “looted” by Mr Maduro.

He said the measure’s only purpose was to ensure that Mr Maduro’s government “doesn’t continue robbing the people of Venezuela”.

The United States announced sanctions against Petroleos de Venezuela SA on Monday, cutting off a vital source of income for the distressed nation.

PA Media