Judge Sara Cockerill of the High Court of London will decide “as soon as possible”, but already after the summer, if it is the board of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) appointed by Nicholas Maduro or the one appointed by the opposition Juan Guaidó, the one that has authority over the Venezuelan gold reserves deposited in the Bank of England.
At the end of a four-day trial this Monday, cockerill, of Superior’s business division, said that due to other commitments, a ruling is unlikely before October. In any case, in principle any of the parties may appeal it. The magistrate must determine if she considers the sentences of the Supreme justice court (TSJ) of Caracas that annulled the appointments of Guaido to his “ad hoc” board of the BCV, despite the fact that the United Kingdom Government recognizes him, and not Maduro, as interim president of the Latin American country.
If it concludes that they are valid, it would be Maduro’s BCV that would have authority over the 31 tons of precious metal, valued at 1,600 million euros. If, on the other hand, it judges that they do not apply in English jurisdiction, the side of Guaido.
The Venezuelan TSJ, under the magnifying glass
The lawyer of the board chaired by Calixto Ortega, Richard Lissackdefended the independence of the TSJ, while Andrew Fultonon the part of the Guaidourged to ignore their opinions with the argument that it is an institution linked to the Maduro regime.
Lissack reminded the magistrate that this case is one of “an enormous gravity” and will have “reverberations”, since it sets a precedent in British law, and asked him to exercise “caution” when making a pronouncement and not rely on the “generalizations” and “gossip” allegedly used by Fulton about the political situation in Venezuela. The lawyer stressed that this litigation is not “a trial of the Maduro government” but on which board can give instructions to the Bank of England, noting that the Guaido has no real power and “He doesn’t answer to anyone.”
Granting access to gold will give them free range “to do what they want” with impunity, he maintained.
Fulton replied for his part that the members of the opposition board are “serious and responsible” people and not “renegades” who are going to run away with the precious metal. “They were appointed by Guaido to watch over the assets until there are new elections” in Venezuela, he pointed out.
Lissack maintained that the witnesses that he has presented in this process -among them the former judge Francisco Carrasquero and Ortega himself, who testified in writing, although he was in the room- demonstrated that the Supreme Court and the Venezuelan central bank are entities “independent” of the Executive.
He also argued that his declarants are guaranteed by a recognized career in their fields while, according to him, those chosen by Fulton -among them the “special” attorney of GuaidoEnrique Sánchez Falcón- are “partisans” and do not even have the experience for the positions they occupy in the “ad hoc” board, in addition to the fact that they have been outside of Venezuela for years.
Fulton refuted this that his clients must meet by videoconference and cannot travel to Venezuelan territory because they face being detained, while accusing the ruling party’s witnesses of having adhered to “a dash”.
The lawsuit over access to gold began on May 14, 2020, when Ortega accused the Bank of England of breaching the contract by not complying with his order to transfer 930 million euros from reserves to a fund of the HIM to be used in the fight against covid in Venezuela.
In addition to the management of these assets, the eventual ruling of the British Justice will serve to resolve a dispute filed by Deutsche Bank in May 2020, on which of the parties can claim 120 million dollars derived from the termination of a swap contract of Prayed.
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.