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Former Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Mardo charged with tax fraud; calls charges "a game"


CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's Attorney General is charging a former opposition lawmaker with a host of crimes including tax fraud.

Officials announced the charges against Richard Mardo in Caracas Wednesday.

The 44-year-old Mardo denies the accusations and says they are part of a political game.

The National Assembly controlled by allies of socialist President Nicolas Maduro stripped Mardo of parliamentary immunity from prosecution last July. The opposition calls it a trumped-up attempt to silence a critic.

In addition to tax fraud, Mardo is charged with money laundering and hiding some income sources.

In recent months, several opposition leaders have been targeted in the courts. They include Leopoldo Lopez, who has been jailed since February, and former opposition lawmaker María Corina Machado.

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