Venezuela's PDVSA removes first lady's nephew from board
CARACAS Jan 14 (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA has removed a nephew of first lady Cilia Flores from its board, according to the government's official gazette on Thursday.
The replacement of Carlos Malpica as PDVSA's finance director came after the arrest and indictment in the United States last year of two other nephews of Flores on drug charges.
Malpica had simultaneously served as the national treasurer but was also removed from that post last week.
A PDVSA official said no one was available to comment on why he was removed. Reuters was unable to contact Malpica.
The first lady's nephews Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores were arrested in November by U.S. authorities. They have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to import cocaine to the United States.
Their case has renewed public scrutiny of the first lady's extensive network of family members in powerful positions throughout public administration.
President Nicolas Maduro's wife has described criticism of her family as a smear campaign by opposition critics. In her first public comments on the U.S. case, she accused the United States earlier this week of "kidnapping" the pair. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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