British court sets hearing for Venezuelan gold case for Monday

CARACAS, Jul 16 (Reuters) – A British court set for Monday a hearing on the case of the gold of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) that is in the vaults of the Bank of England, and in which it would determine who has control on the ingots.

An appeal court last year granted the appeal to the directive of the Venezuelan issuer appointed by President Nicolás Maduro and annulled a July 2020 sentence, which it considered conclusive that the British government recognized the opposition Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

“The so-called Ad Hoc administrative board (…) after a loss in the Court of Appeals, seeks to annul a ruling that determined that both the incumbent President Maduro and Guaidó could be recognized by the UK government in different capacities,” said in a statement the communications office of lawyers in London, of the BCV board appointed by Maduro.

Guaidó’s communications team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The BCV sued the Bank of England in 2020 before a court in London seeking control of the gold deposited in the vaults of that entity. Members of the Maduro government asked the entity to sell bars for about $ 1 billion under the argument that the funds would be directed to equipment and humanitarian aid to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More hearings may be required, but this will not be clear until the Supreme Court issues its ruling after the conclusion of this hearing,” said a spokesman for the communications firm of the team of lawyers of the Central Bank of Venezuela.

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The communications office of the BCV law firm said that the hearing that will begin on Monday could be extended until Thursday. Then the litigation would go back to a higher court.

After 12 months of legal battle, the case is still in the preliminary phase related to the authority.

The Bank of England has refused to release Venezuelan gold, after the British government in early 2019 joined dozens of Western countries in backing Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader after considering that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was rigged.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)

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