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United kingdom. Venezuelan gold remains in Guaido’s hands

The British Supreme Court has rejected President Nicolas Maduro’s recent attempts to control more than one Billion dollars in Venezuelan gold reserves Stored in the underground vaults of the Bank of England in London.

The court ruled on July 29 that past decisions of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, which Maduro supports, aimed at limiting opposition leader Juan Guaido’s influence on gold, should be ignored. It is the latest victory for Guaido, who won a series of legal battles over bullion after the British government recognized him in place of Maduro as the Latin American country’s head of state. Reuters.

Both Maduro and Guaido appointed a different board of directors for the central bank of Venezuela, BCV, and the two sides issued conflicting instructions on gold reserves. Lawyers on the BCV board, backed by Maduro, said the central bank is considering an appeal following the ruling on Friday, July 29.

Maduro’s legal team said they would like to sell part of the 31 tons of gold to fund Venezuela’s response to the pandemic and support a health system battered by years of economic crisis. Guaido’s opposition said the Maduro administration, which has severe cash flow problems, wanted to use the money to pay the salaries of its foreign allies, which its lawyers deny.

“This decision represents another step forward in the process of protecting and preserving the international gold reserves in Venezuela for the Venezuelan people (…) This kind of honest and transparent judicial process does not exist in Venezuela,” Guaido said.

In early 2019, the British government joined dozens of countries in supporting Guaido, after he declared an interim presidency and denounced Maduro for manipulating the 2018 elections.

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At the time, Guaido asked the Bank of England to prevent the Maduro government from accessing gold. Maduro’s central bank then sued the Bank of England to regain control, saying it was depriving BCV of the funds it needed to fund Venezuela’s response to the coronavirus.

Legal experts said the latest case is unprecedented, as it has seen one country’s highest courts interpret another country’s constitution.

Graziella Giangiulio

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