Venezuela Seeks to Regain Control of More Than $1.8 Billion in Gold After Interim Government Dissolves

The government of Venezuela is seeking to regain control of more than $1.8 billion in gold deposited in the vaults of the Bank of England. Officials of Maduro’s government appealed to the London Court of Appeals that the destitution of Juan Guaido, the former interim president, could affect the considerations London makes on access to the gold.

Venezuela Seeks to Regain Control of Its Gold Stash in UK

Venezuela is again appealing the decision of the U.K. High Court on the ownership and management of more than $1.8 billion in gold that is currently held in the vaults of the Bank of England. This judicial battle has been ongoing since January 2019, when the U.K. High Court declined to transfer the gold to the government of Nicolas Maduro, on the basis of the U.K. government’s recognition of then interim president Juan Guaido.

Guaido was deposed from his position as interim president in December 2022, when the Legislative Assembly, elected back in 2015, voted to disintegrate the interim government and establish a board to protect Venezuelan assets abroad.

This dissolution is key for the appeal presented by Richard Lissack, attorney of the Central Bank of Venezuela’s board managed by Maduro, who alleged the London court should reconsider its posture due to the new political reality in Venezuela.

To Lissack, the “One Voice” doctrine, that determined the recognition of Guaido over Maduro, does not apply now that his government has been dissolved. Now, in his view, the government must recognize the decisions that Venezuelan courts enacted, disregarding the validity of the interim ad-hoc board of the Central Bank of Venezuela.

Opposition and More Lawsuits

Andrew Fulton, attorney of the “ad-hoc” board of the Central Bank of Venezuela, stated that these new developments don’t affect the outcome of the earlier decision of the court, given that Guaido was recognized as interim president of Venezuela when it took place.

A letter was presented that certifies that the U.K. government recognized and respected the disbandment of Guaido’s interim government on January 5, effectively changing the consideration of the U.K. government towards Guaido. On this, Fulton stated:

The members of Guaido’s board were appointed by executive acts of the then-recognized interim president, and such acts remain valid (in England) unless and until they are repudiated by a new president or government.

The U.K. court will dictate its decision in the coming weeks, as Maduro’s government is already preparing to introduce a new lawsuit to decide which party should have access to the gold after the Guaido government’s dissolution.

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