Venezuela's Supreme Court bans self-declared president from leaving the country
Updated 09:56, 30-Jan-2019

Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice barred opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself the country's acting president, from leaving the country and froze his bank accounts Tuesday. 

The court also said prosecutors could investigate Guaido, in apparent retaliation for sweeping U.S. sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced on Monday.

The 35-year-old head of the National Assembly legislature "is prohibited from leaving the country until the end of the (preliminary) investigation," high court president Maikel Moreno said.

 Venezuela's Supreme Court gives a press conference at the Supreme Court in Caracas, January 30, 2019. /VCG Photo‍

 Venezuela's Supreme Court gives a press conference at the Supreme Court in Caracas, January 30, 2019. /VCG Photo‍

The Supreme Court approved a request from Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek Saab to open a preliminary investigation into Guaido based on accusations he helped foreign countries to interfere in internal matters. The court also imposed a travel ban on the 35-year-old leader and froze his bank accounts.

In response to news earlier of the attorney general's plan, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned of "serious consequences for those who attempt to subvert democracy and harm Guaido," in a tweet that described Saab as the "illegitimate former Venezuelan Attorney General."

The United States and several other countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

Maduro, sworn in on January 10 for a second term after elections last year, accuses Guaido of staging a U.S.-directed coup against him.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it had certified Guaido's authority to control certain assets held by U.S.-insured banks, including government and central bank accounts.

(Top image: Venezuela's National Assembly head and self-proclaimed "acting president" Juan Guaido checks his phone during a session at the National Assembly in Caracas, January 29, 2019. / VCG photo)

Source(s): AFP