The UK Supreme Court is blocking the Maduro government from accessing Venezuela’s gold reserves in the Bank of England

In 2019, the Bank of England froze the Venezuelan government’s access to gold reserves, sparking protests among Maduro supporters.

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court on Friday rejected the latest request by Nicolás Maduro’s government for access to more than $1 billion in Venezuelan gold reserves stored in the secret vaults of the Bank of England.

Venezuela’s gold reserves have been disputed over control between President Maduro and the opposition leader, Juan GuaidoRecognized by the United Kingdom and other countries in the West as the interim president of that Latin American country.

Both Maduro and Guaido have been appointed Various Boards of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) The two issued contradictory instructions on managing gold reserves.

The Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela (TSJ), in a formal direction, ruled that Guaido’s involvement in gold should be reduced and that the reserves should be moved from London, but British Judge Sarah Cockrell rejected this argument.

Cockrell said there was “clear evidence” that the High Court of Justice was made up of judges who support Maduro and that their decisions were not recognized under British law.

The ruling represents a victory for the opposition, but despite the fact that the UK considers Guaidó’s board valid, the judge Cockerill did not authorize the opposing faction to access the reserves. This will be determined at another hearing.

A man walks in front of the front of the Venezuelan Central Bank

The Central Bank of Venezuela has two councils, one appointed by Maduro and the other by Guaido.

However, Guaido praised the British court’s decision, calling it “another international victory for democracy and freedom.”

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“This decision represents another step in the process of protecting and preserving Venezuela’s international gold reserves for the Venezuelan people and their future,” the Venezuelan opposition leader said.

After learning of the decision, the legal representative of the Maduro government announced that it would continue its efforts to gain access to the reserves.

“This is an unfortunate ruling based on a complex legal issue related to the recognition of foreign judges,” said Sarosh Zaiwala, who represents the Central Bank of Venezuela.

“BVC is considering appeal”Lawyer added.

President Maduro’s legal team asserts that the country is seeking to be able to sell part of its 31 tons of gold to fund its response to the coronavirus pandemic and to strengthen the decimated health system.

For his part, Guaido claims that Maduro’s government wants the resources to pay money to allies who helped him deal with serious liquidity problems, after years of crisis, something government lawyers deny.

Juan Guaido

Juan Guaido asserts that the Maduro government wants the gold resources to pay off the debts it owes with its allies.

Access to gold has been frozen since 2019After several countries led by Washington and London supported Guaido and declared him interim president, considering that the elections that Maduro won in 2018 were rigged.

The opposition leader quickly asked the Bank of England to prevent the Maduro government from accessing gold reserves.

BVC has sued the Bank of England to regain control, arguing that the money is needed to cover the costs of measures against the pandemic.

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According to legal experts, the case – in which one country’s highest court interprets another country’s constitution – is unprecedented.

Sarush Ziwala considered it “unfortunate” that the judge “was constrained by technical regulations”, which were developed “in different contexts”, when it came to recognizing TSJ rulings prohibiting Guaido’s actions.

Gold bars in the vaults of the Bank of England

Venezuela, like other countries, stores its gold in foreign banks.

through decades Venezuela has stored gold that is part of its reserves in foreign banksin both Europe and the United States, a strategy followed by many other countries.

Large countries have the ability to protect their own reserves, so having reserves elsewhere is a traditional strategy of protection and protection for smaller countries.

In 2011, President Hugo Chavez Return about 160 tons of gold From US and EU banks to the Central Bank of Caracas, citing his country’s need for physical control of assets.

As economist and opposition MP Jose Guerra told BBC Mundo in August 2021, “about 90% of the gold that Venezuela owned was brought abroad and put into BCV vaults.” He said most of Venezuela’s gold reserves are in Caracas.

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