London England – The Central Bank of Venezuela sued the Bank of England to compel it to release 930 million euros ($ 1 billion) in Venezuelan gold, so that it can sell it and use the profits to fight COVID-19.
As reported on Wednesday by the BBC, the country led by Nicolás Maduro has taken this legal action against the British institution because gold is being held as a result of the sanctions that the United Kingdom and the United States have imposed on Venezuela.
The Venezuelan banking proposal is that the funds be transferred to the United Nations Development Program, so that they are managed by the UN and are used to purchase supplies such as the medical equipment necessary to combat the new coronavirus.
The UN confirmed to the BBC that the Venezuelan entity had communicated its intention to explore this mechanism.
The Central Bank of Venezuela has requested that the transfer be made “as a matter of urgency”, according to the legal claim that it filed on May 14 before a London court, amid speculation that has arisen about the lack of capacity of the the country’s medical system to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Figures on Tuesday reveal that Venezuela has officially registered 749 infections and 10 deaths from COVID-19, the lowest number in Latin America along with Costa Rica, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“With lives at stake, now is not the time to try to earn political points,” Sarosh Zaiwalla, a London-based lawyer representing the Central Bank of Venezuela, said in a statement.
Despite the fact that Venezuela is one of the richest countries in the world in oil, its economy is experiencing serious difficulties due to hyperinflation, serious shortage problems, the paralysis of much of its productive fabric and corruption in many of its administrations, which has been aggravated by international sanctions.
Leaving oil aside, Venezuela produces very little, so it needs to import goods from abroad, and for this it requires access to foreign currency such as the 31 tons of gold bars that are stored in the Bank of England.
To obtain liquidity, the Maduro Executive has resorted to the sale of gold reserves that were in the Central Bank of Venezuela to Turkey, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, which is also under US sanctions.
The country has been going through a time of great political tension since January 2019, when Maduro swore a new six-year term that neither the opposition nor more than fifty countries (including the United Kingdom and the rest of the Union) recognize. European (EU), as the main opposition leaders were banned from running for election.