VENEZUELA said on Thursday it was halting commercial relations with Panamanian officials and companies, including regional airline Copa-

For alleged involvement in money laundering, prompting both countries to recall their Ambassadors.

The resolution names Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and nearly two dozen Cabinet ministers and top-ranking officials, and says that-

*Panama's financial systems had been used by Venezuelan nationals involved in acts of corruption*.

The individuals named in the resolution ''present an imminent risk to the Venezuelan financial system, the stability of commerce in the country, and the sovereignty and  economic independence of the Venezuelan people.'' Venezuela said.

The statement came a week after Panama declared Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and some 50 Venezuelan nationals as ''high risk'' for laundering money and financing terrorism.

Venezuela's civil aviation authority said in a statement that inbound and outbound Copa  flights were suspended for 90 days, effective Friday ''as a measure to protect the Venezuelan financial system.'' [Agencies]


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