Litigation for Venezuelan gold in the UK law or policy?

The legal battle began in 2020, after the English banking institution refused to hand over gold to the authorities of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) appointed by the constitutional president of the South American country, Nicolás Maduro, on the grounds that there was a similar request to the board of directors appointed by the self-proclaimed president. Juan Guaido.

In the first instance, the London Commercial Court ruled that the opponent had the authority to dispose of 30 tons of the precious metal, valued at more than one billion dollars, because then-British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt recognized him as interim president in February 2019.

The Court of Appeal overturned this ruling, arguing that recognition of Guaido as a “de jure” (by law) president did not preclude the UK’s recognition of Maduro as the de facto (in fact) president of South America. Country.

Last December, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that recognizing the Venezuelan opponent as Venezuela’s president was “unambiguously clear”, but said it was up to the commercial judiciary to decide whether to take into account the ruling of Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice. That abolished the authority of the council appointed by Guaido.

Solicitor Sarosh Ziwala, Senior Partner at law firm Zaiwalla & Co. , which represents Maduro’s government, said this issue has always been at the crossroads of law and politics, and today’s session is no different from previous sessions.

As the lawyer explained in a statement sent to Prensa Latina after the first day of the trial ended on Wednesday, the question is whether British justice has the right to judge the correctness of decisions by another sovereign’s High Court. country.

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He added that this would undoubtedly have repercussions on the UK’s credibility as a custodian of foreign sovereign assets.

According to lawyers for the BCV Council appointed by the Venezuelan constitutional government, Guaidó’s representatives intend to invoke the so-called Doctrine of the State Act to position the opposition leader as the only instrument of the Venezuelan state, ignoring the separation of powers stipulated in the constitution.

They also pointed out that the principle underlying this doctrine in British jurisprudence is to respect the decisions of another sovereign state, and it also applies to judgments of its highest judicial bodies, particularly in matters relating to the interpretation and application of the Charter. the country concerned.

The new trial of Venezuela’s gold reserves at the Bank of England will conclude next Monday, although the decision of the commercial court will not be known immediately.


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