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Legal claims against Bank of England for withholding Venezuelan gold discussed in court

A LEGAL claim against the Bank of England (BoE) for withholding £820 million of gold from Venezuela was began its court proceedings today.

The preliminary hearing considered whether or not there should be a trial and went over planning for what should be covered.

Self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido’s appointments to the bank asked for the court to determine whether he or the elected leader Nicolas Maduro are president.

The claimants alleged that Mr Guaido has asked BoE not to release the funding.

The BoE was served with a legal claim last week by a firm representing the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) following its decision to deny access to $1 billion (£820m) of the country’s gold reserves to combat the spread of Covid-19.

BCV wrote to the BoE last month making it aware that BCV intended to liquidate and transfer the gold to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is working with the Venezuelan government to prepare the country for an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. 

The UN has identified Venezuela as a priority country in the global Covid-19 response as its healthcare infrastructure is fragile and has been placed under further pressure by stringent US sanctions, which Venezuela has been under since 2019.

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (VSC) president and former mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "This gold should be used for the fight against Covid-19 in Venezuela and for public health in that country. 

“Any other outcome is a disgraceful blow to the principles of humanitarianism and national sovereignty."

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