August 23, 2018 / 7:30 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Venezuelan authorities arrest two managers of paper firm Smurfit Kappa

(Adds Smurfit Kappa’s denial of accusations)

VALENCIA, Venezuela, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Venezuelan authorities said on Thursday that they had arrested two managers of paper packaging company Smurfit Kappa Group, two days after the government temporarily took over its local unit in the city of Valencia.

State price control agency Sundde said in a press statement that the people had been charged with price speculation, boycotting, destabilizing the economy, and smuggling.

On Tuesday, Sundde ordered the Irish company, which has operated in Venezuela since 1986, to immediately adjust its prices for all its products and accused the company of refusing to sell to certain local businesses.

Smurfit Kappa did not respond to requests for comment.

Earlier on Thursday Smurfit Kappa denied the allegations, which it said came after two days of government inspections at Smurfit Kappa Carton de Venezuela, and said in a statement that it believed they were without merit. It said the

Smurfit Kappa said the unit represented less than 1 percent of its core earnings in the first six months of 2018. (Reporting by Tibisay Romero Writing by Angus Berwick Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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