The British Supreme Court forwarded this Monday to the commercial jurisdiction the case of the 31 tons of Venezuelan gold kept in the Bank of england, whose control is disputed between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
After judging that the British courts cannot contradict the Executive, which considers Guaidó as interim president, “It remains to be seen if the rulings issued by the Supreme Court of Venezuela can be recognized here. The case is forwarded to the Commercial Court,” the high court said in a statement.
Both parties appointed management committees of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), “Who have given divergent instructions on the country’s international reserves”, of which the Bank of England owns about a billion dollars in gold, according to the British Supreme Court.
The BCV appointed by Maduro wants to recover the tons of gold deposited in the British bank, but for now, he cannot access because London recognizes as interim president Juan Guaidó.
Self-proclaimed head of state in 2019 with the support of the United States, Guaidó is considered the interim president by some fifty countries that, therefore, did not recognize the re-election of Nicolás Maduro in 2018.
In 2020, the Venezuelan central bank appealed to the British courts, which initially ruled in favor of Guaidó, before the appeals court overturned the sentence. Then the side of Guaidó decided to take the case to the Supreme Court.
After three days of hearings in July, the Court ruled this Monday leaving the question open.
The attorneys of Mature argue that the United Kingdom effectively recognizes his presidency, in particular through diplomatic relations.
According to them, the sale of the precious metal to the government could, among other things, help finance the fight against covid-19.
According to official data, Venezuela, of 30 million inhabitants, registered 440,000 infections and more than 5,000 deaths from coronavirus. Both the opposition and some NGOs accuse the power of falsifying the statistics.
The government of Guaidó claims instead that the money would serve to repress the people or fill the pockets of a “kleptocracy.”
In order to demonstrate their good faith, in the face of the accusations of embezzlement made by the team of Guaidó, the BCV had proposed in April that the gold be transferred directly to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The agency said it was willing to consider it under conditions.
The situation is ambiguous: like the United States, London does not recognize the legitimacy of the new parliament and reiterates its support for Juan Guaidó, who has no power in the country.
But at the same time, the United Kingdom maintains an embassy in Caracas, although with reduced diplomatic relations.
Indeed, in October 2020, the appeals court took these arguments into account and ruled that a political statement did not amount to a government decision.
According to the court, the Boris Johnson executive could “de facto” recognize the power of Maduro, with whose administration he continues to maintain diplomatic relations.
If British justice finally rules in favor of the BCV leadership appointed by Juan Guaidó, it would set a precedent that the opposition, which suffered a crushing defeat in the November regional elections, hopes to use to recover Venezuelan assets deposited in other European banks.
In the United States, the management of the assets of the oil-rich country has been entrusted to Guaidó.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.