Venezuela’s finance minister has said that the government is shutting down three more banks after detecting violations.

The government is taking over management of Central Banco Universal, Baninvest and Banco Real, Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez announced, saying: “They violated the rules they’re obliged to follow.”

He said the government aims to rehabilitate the banks in order to eventually reopen them.

The shutdowns come on top of the closings of four other banks by authorities earlier this week in a widening scandal that is rattling the Venezuelan banking system.

The government’s actions against a group of banks has generated nervousness among Venezuelans and provoked major withdrawals by clients, forcing banks to seek loans from other institutions.

The government has guaranteed deposits, and the finance minister made the latest announcement just as banks closed.

Rodriguez did not give details about the alleged violations, and there was no immediate response from the three small banks. He insisted the banking system in general is “in good shape“.

In a televised speech after the announcement, President Hugo Chavez said, “There shouldn’t be panic.”

The seven banks where the government has intervened represent a combined 8 per cent of the Venezuelan banking sector.

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