Venezuelan Central Bank hails UK court ruling on gold stored in Bank of England

Big Set of Gold bars. Close up Image

Central Bank of Venezuela appealed to release $1B in gold from Bank of England vaults to fight coronavirus pandemic.

The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) welcomed a British appeals court’s decision to overturn an earlier judgment which denied the government access to gold stored in the vaults of Bank of England.

“The Central Bank of Venezuela trusts that the investigation ordered by the Court of Appeal in its decision will confirm the arguments made during the judicial process and, likewise, will allow to reestablish the legality that was broken as a result of the Bank of England’s refusal to execute the instructions issued by the BCV on the transfer of resources for humanitarian purposes, so necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in coordination with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP),” the bank said in a statement Monday.

The BCV vowed that it will continue its actions to safeguard the “sovereign international reserves and the sacred patrimony of the Republic, which belong to the people of Venezuela.”

The statement came hours after the UK ruling, and reposted by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Twitter.

The case was brought by the BCV asking to release $1 billion in gold reserves to help fund the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The court in July granted access to the gold to opposition leader Juan Guaido, saying the UK “unequivocally recognised” him as Venezuela’s interim president.

However, the Court of Appeal said the UK accepted the authority of Guaido as head of state but also dealt with the Maduro government.

The ruling said it was necessary to determine whether “(1) the UK government recognises Mr Guaido as president of Venezuela for all purposes and therefore does not recognise Mr Maduro as president for any purpose. Or (2) HMG [the UK government] recognises Mr Guaido as entitled to be the president of Venezuela and thus entitled to exercise all the powers of the president but also recognises Mr Maduro as the person who does in fact exercise some or all of the powers of the president of Venezuela.”

The Bank of England’s refusal to release Venezuelan gold drew strong criticism from Venezuelan officials earlier, who accused the bank of compromising its independence from the Foreign Office.