Daily Mail25 Sep 2020by Matt Oliver
VENEZUELAN president Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to access £800m worth of gold stored in the Bank of England’s vaults has been heard by the Court of Appeal.
The controversial leader wants to sell the assets but has been blocked on the grounds that his government is not recognised by the UK. Maduro – reelected in a controversial ballot in 2018 which most opposition parties boycotted – says the bullion can help cash-starved Venezuela fight coronavirus. But in a previous ruling, a High Court judge said the Bank could not lawfully release the gold to Maduro because the UK recognises his rival, Juan Guaido, as the country’s leader. Guaido has asked the bank not to hand the assets over because, he argued, it would be used for corrupt purposes. But the High Court’s ruling is being appealed by Maduro’s laywers, who say the UK has given ‘de facto’ recognition to his government even though it officially recognises Guaido.
The Banco Central de Venezuela also claims the case raises issues of international law, which forbids the interference by any country in the internal affairs of another.
Sarosh Zaiwalla, its board solicitor, said it could also present ‘a further threat to the international perception of English institutions as being free from political interference’.