UK court denies Venezuela $1bn in gold needed to fight coronavirusChristian Fernsby ▼ | July 4, 2020
The United Kingdom’s High Court has blocked the Venezuelan government’s effort to recover 31 tons of the nation’s gold held by the Bank of England (BoE).
UK High Court
Topics: Venezuela UK
The BCV vowed to immediately appeal the “outrageous” decision, accusing the High Court of “trying to deny the Venezuelan people of the gold urgently needed to face the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Since late 2018, the BoE has refused to return the gold in its vaults, which is valued at an estimated US $1.2 billion.
On May 14, Caracas filed a lawsuit to access the reserves, which it plans to sell and transfer the proceeds to the United Nations Development Programme in order to import food, medicines and healthcare equipment. While Venezuela has not been hard hit by COVID-19 so far, analysts warn that the country’s healthcare system – battered by years of under-investment and US sanctions – is ill-prepared to face the pandemic.
Lawyers for the Venezuelan government argued that while the UK recognized Guaido as head of state last year London still recognizes Maduro de facto, maintaining regular consular relations with Caracas. According to the Venezuelan legal team, the court ruling ignores “the reality of the situation on the ground" in which President Nicolas Maduro’s government is "in complete control of Venezuela and its administrative institutions.”
For his part, Judge Nigel Teare stated that 10 Downing St. had “unequivocally” recognized Guaido as “interim president” and that under the “one voice” doctrine the judiciary was bound to the government’s position. ■