The Strategist

Venezuelan Central Bank files lawsuit against Bank of England

05/20/2020 - 03:31

The Central Bank of Venezuela has filed a lawsuit in a London court against the Bank of England in order to secure the return of €930 million in gold bars stored in it. The authorities need the funds to fight the novel coronavirus, Reuters reports citing a document submitted to the court.

Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr
Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr
In late January, the Bloomberg news agency, citing sources, reported that the Bank of England refused Caracas to issue $ 1.2 billion in gold bullion. An unnamed source told the agency that the decision to not give out gold was made after senior US officials, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Presidential Advisor for National Security John Bolton, pressured their UK counterparts to block access to the president Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro to his assets abroad. Maduro later said that the Bank of England kept 80 tons of gold belonging to the Venezuelan authorities.

In April, Venezuela was unable to ensure that the Bank of England responded to a request for the sale of part of Venezuelan ingots for the transfer of funds received to the funds of the UN Development Program, which will help the country in the fight against coronavirus.

The proceeds from the sale of the bullion should go towards the purchase of medical equipment, medicines and food as part of the "emergency situation with COVID-19" in Venezuela, the document said.

"Delays by the Bank of England seriously hinder the efforts of Venezuela and the UN to overcome the coronavirus in the country," said lawyer Sarosh Zaiwalla, who represents the Central Bank of Venezuela in court.

The number of cases of coronavirus infection in Venezuela reached 618, ten people died.

In Venezuela, on January 21, mass protests began against incumbent President Nicolas Maduro, shortly after being sworn in. After the riots broke out, opposition speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim head of state. A number of Western countries led by the United States recognized him as the new leader. In turn, Maduro called Guaido "a puppet of the United States."