The status of the Venezuelan gold currently being held by the Bank of England might fall into regulatory limbo after the dissolution of the interim government of Juan Guaido. The 31 tons of gold have been the subject of dispute between the current president Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido since 2019, when Guaido integrated a parallel government.
Status of Venezuelan Gold in the Bank of England Uncertain
The status of the Venezuelan gold stash guarded in the vaults of the Bank of England in London is uncertain after the dissolution of the interim government of the country. The 31 tons of gold (1.02 millon troy ounces), valued at more than $1.85 billion, were disputed by the two governments of the country, one presided over by Nicolas Maduro, and the other by interim president Juan Guaido, who integrated a provisional government in 2019 after disputing the legality of the presidential ballot.
While U.K. courts had decided in favor of Guaido in July, the dissolution of the government executed in a session of the Legislative Assembly elected back in 2015, casts doubts on the possible future of this gold and other Venezuelan properties offshore, with some legislators claiming that might open the doors for Maduro to have a valid claim on these.
Deputy Freddy Guevara hinted at this possibility during the session. He stated:
There was no prior consultation with the international community on the recognition of this reform. They have clearly told us abroad that, with this reform, the protection of foreign assets is not guaranteed. How is it possible to take a leap into the void?
72 deputies voted to disintegrate the interim government, while 29 were against this measure, and eight deputies abstained.
While the interim government was disbanded, the parallel Legislative Assembly constituted a Board of Directors and Asset Protection, that would have the task of safeguarding and organizing Venezuelan properties and companies abroad. The board, which will be integrated by five members, will have ample powers to deal with these responsibilities, supported by the legality of the assembly.
However, this structure is new and does not figure in any of the 52 trials all over the world where there is more than $40 billion in dispute between the two governments. Deputy Juan Miguel Matheus criticized this idea, stating that these assets were not in danger because they were under the custody of governments that back the “democratic struggle” that the Venezuelan people are currently fighting.
This, however, brought heavy criticism from other deputies, who argued that the interim government was the only warranty of recovering these assets due to the international recognition that Guaido had.
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