October 19, 2016 / 4:31 PM / 2 years ago

Venezuela congress probe says $11 bln unaccounted for at PDVSA

CARACAS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s congressional investigations commission said on Wednesday some $11 billion dollars were unaccounted for between 2004 and 2014 at state oil company PDVSA

Describing the amount as “more than the budget of five Central American countries,” commission president Freddy Guevara said there had been wide-scale corruption at the company which is a cash cow for the struggling government.

“We’re talking about $11 billion they cannot justify,” said Guevara, an opposition lawmaker while presenting a commission report into PDVSA.

The country is undergoing a major economic and social crisis, with shortages of food and medicine.

PDVSA said on Monday it “could be difficult” to pay its debt if a bond swap does not go through, after extending a swap proposal for a third time.

“If PDVSA is unable to pay its international creditors ... it is because they robbed this money,” added Guevara.

PDVSA did not respond to a request for comment about the commission’s accusations. (Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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