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Madrid/Miami — As Venezuela’s chronic food shortages began intensifying, Naman Wakil, a former street peddler who made millions of dollars supplying meat to the socialist government’s food programmes, decided to share the wealth.

Wakil ordered his Swiss bankers to transfer $5.9m to relatives of state food minister Carlos Osorio, who’d given him the meat contracts, bank records show. Venezuelan legislators labelled this series of payments from 2012 and 2013 as “suspicious transactions” in an official report...

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