British court rules in favor of Venezuela in gold dispute

London - The United Kingdom's court of appeals today rejected a decision by a British court to grant self-proclaimed President Juan Guaidó the right to dispose of the Venezuelan gold reserves kept in the Bank of England.

According to the verdict issued this Monday by the three judges of the highest court, its colleague from the London commercial court was wrong when he ruled last July that Guaidó could access the gold, based on a statement by then British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt that he recognized 'unequivocally' Guaidó as president of Venezuela.

The appeals court, which heard the case between September 22 and 24, considered that the recognition of the opponent as president 'de jure' (by law) does not exclude that the constitutional president, Nicolás Maduro, is recognized by the Kingdom United as the 'de facto' (de facto) president of the South American nation.

The verdict therefore recommends that legal entities thoroughly investigate whether the British authorities recognize that Maduro continues to exercise all powers in Venezuela.

For this, it recommends that the investigation take into account the existence of diplomatic relations between London and Caracas, and other relevant factors.

I am very pleased that the Court of Appeals has reversed that decision and ordered that this very important matter be analyzed in more depth, said Sarosh Zaiwalla, lead attorney at the firm representing the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) in the dispute over reserves of gold valued at about two billion dollars.

The case reached the British courts after the Bank of England refused to deliver the gold to the BCV, which claims it to buy equipment and medicines against Covid-19 in the South American country.

The English banking institution then indicated it had a similar request from the board appointed by Guaidó, so the decision passed into the hands of a London commercial court, which last July determined that the so-called 'interim president' of Venezuela had the authority to claim the 30 tons of gold ingots.

In the opinion of the Zaiwalla law firm, these legal arguments, which are intended to undermine the authority of the BCV board appointed by Maduro to dispose of the gold reserves in the Bank of England, have only caused the delivery of the funds to be delayed.

United Nations Development Program would be the agency in charge of purchasing supplies to combat Covid-19 in Venezuela.

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