Maduro Allowed to Appeal Part of $1 Billion Gold Case in London

A London judge gave Venezuela’s central bank permission to appeal parts of a U.K. court ruling that denied the Nicolas Maduro-controlled entity from retrieving $1 billion in gold held by the Bank of England.

The dispute arose from the debate over who is Venezuela’s president, and thus who has control over the country’s gold reserves.

A court in London ruled earlier this month that it followed the “unequivocal” position of the U.K. government that opposition leader Juan Guaido should be recognized as the country’s interim president, and that Maduro was not head of state.

Venezuela is facing a constitutional crisis because Maduro’s 2018 re-election was considered rigged by both opposition parties and a number of foreign governments. Guaido, as head of the National Assembly, was named interim president awaiting fresh elections, but Maduro refused to leave power.

The Venezuelan central bank had sued the Bank of England to access the gold that it says is urgently needs to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Judge Nigel Teare allowed an appeal on the decision that the English court accepted Guaido’s appointment as interim president and its implications as constitutional under Venezuelan law.

But the judge refused permission to appeal the “recognition” decision — that Maduro was not recognized as president of Venezuela by the U.K. government.

The Venezuelan bank argues that the British government is still recognizing Maduro as head of state in practice, in particular as it maintains diplomatic ties with the Venezuelan regime, which is a “classic form of recognition,” Nick Vineall, a lawyer for Venezuela’s central bank, said.

The Central Bank of Venezuela will apply to the appeals court next week for an overall review of the judgment.

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