The UK Court of Appeals has overturned a London High Court Decision on Venezuelan gold.
Since Juan Guaido declared himself acting president of Venezuela in January 2019 instead of elected head of state Nicolás Maduro, the Bank of England has expressed uncertainty over the fate of the gold reserves stored in its vaults and who should be entitled to them.
Now the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) has won the first round of appeals against a ruling by the High Court of England and Wales, a lawyer revealed.
The UK High Court earlier recognized opposition politician Juan Guaido as “interim president” of Venezuela and gave him the right to access the country’s gold reserves. Now, the UK Court of Appeals has rejected this position and ordered a detailed judicial review of the dispute.
The British government has been backing the head of Venezuela’s Congress, Juan Guaido, as the president of the country since his self-proclamation on 23 January 2019. At the time, Guaido asked the Bank of England, which holds around $1 billion in gold, to prevent the country’s elected President Maduro from accessing it.
In May, the BCV filed a lawsuit against the Bank of England in a bid to recover control over its funds stored in the UK, which the Maduro government said they needed to fight against the coronavirus.
The Bank of England was not ready to give the funds back to the BCV and asked the UK court to decide who should be recognized as the real president by the British government.
In July, the UK High Court decided that it was Guaido who should be “unequivocally” recognized by the United Kingdom as the president of Venezuela and his government is entitled to an estimated $1.2 billion in reserves.
The UK Court of Appeal challenged that decision. During the hearing process which was concluded this week, Maduro’s legal team insisted that he was holding the power “de facto” and was still effectively the head of government.
“Guaido was not appointed, he declared himself president,” BCV lawyer Dan Sarooshi told the Court of Appeal.