Published On: Thu, Apr 14th, 2016

Don’t call for me, Venezuela

CaracasCARACAS - Venezuela's two main cellular phone service providers are suspending international calling as the country’s economic situation worsens.

Movistar, a subsidiary of the Spain-based Telefonica, and Digitel both announced last week that they would be cutting international service because of issues with Venezuela's byzantine currency controls. Digitel ended that service on Saturday while Movistar will do so on Friday.

The companies had already dramatically reduced the list of countries Venezuelans could call.

Venezuelans will still be able to make international calls from some landlines.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's chief prosecutor has ordered banks to freeze the accounts of people that the government is investigating in connection with the so-called Panama Papers – leaked documents from a Panama-based law firm that sets up secretive offshore bank accounts and shell companies for its clientele worldwide.

Venezuela is reportedly mentioned in 241,000 of the 11.5 million leaked documents.

Last week, President Nicolas Maduro asked public prosecutor Luisa Ortega to investigate those Venezuelans named in the files.

Ortega said on Monday that prosecutors are considering issuing arrest warrants for people named in the "Panama Papers" leak.

Venezuelans whose names have appeared in the leaked files include a former top military officer, a former state oil company official and a security official who worked at the presidential palace during the administration of the late President Hugo Chavez.

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