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article imagePortuguese supermarket managers freed in Venezuela

By AFP     Sep 26, 2018 in World

Venezuela has released seven Portuguese supermarket managers detained over accusations they overcharged for basic items in the food-strapped country, Portugal's government said Wednesday.

The managers were arrested along with five other people of Portuguese origin on Friday, local media reported, for breaking strict price control laws set by crisis-hit Venezuela in an attempt to respond to widespread food shortages.

"I note with satisfaction the release of our compatriots in Venezuela," Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa wrote on Twitter.

A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that the seven Portuguese citizens entitled to consular protection had been freed.

On Monday, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva condemned the arrests, warning Venezuela that the move could jeopardise relations between the two countries.

Facing economic meltdown with inflation predicted to reach one million percent, Venezuela's government has implemented a series of measures to try to address a dire shortage of basic necessities such as food and medicine.

One such measure by President Nicolas Maduro and his government, widely criticised for mismanaging the crisis, was regulating the price of 25 types of basic food and hygiene supplies.

Since August, more than 150 supermarket managers have been arrested over claims of over-charging.

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