Venezuela Launches Bid to Access $1 Billion in Bank of England Gold

The central bank of Venezuela has launched a legal battle to force BoE to transfer the gold it is storing in order to combat COVID-19.

Following a request in April for the Bank of England to transfer over $1 billion of Venezuelan gold reserves that it is retaining, the central bank of Venezuela has now launched a legal challenge against BoE.

Venezuela has said that it intends to sell part of its gold reserves and have the proceeds transferred to the United Nations, who can then oversee its use in funding the country’s healthcare system as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Venezuela’s economy has collapsed during the term of president Nicholas Maduro, which has prompted over 4.6 million people to flee the country by UN estimates.

Several nations, including the US and UK, do not recognise Maduro’s leadership, and Venezuela’s economy has been further damaged since US sanctions were placed on the country.

As a result of these sanctions and Maduro’s unrecognition by the UK government, BoE has delayed the transfer of Venezuelan gold since 2018.

Sarosh Zaiwalla, a London-based lawyer representing Venezuela’s central bank, said that “The foot-dragging by the Bank of England is critically hampering Venezuela and the UN’s efforts to combat Covid-19 in the country”, adding “With lives on the line, now is not the time to attempt to score political points”.

As of publication, the Venezuelan government has officially registered 618 cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths, but health workers in the country have warned that its medical system could be overrun should the outbreak spread further.

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