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Russia calls UK court’s decision to hold Venezuelan gold ‘outrageous’

Sunday, 05 July 2020 5:53 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 05 July 2020 7:44 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

A man wearing a protective mask walks past a mural depicting Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez at the Perez de Leon Hospital of the Petare neighborhood, in eastern Caracas, Venezuela, on June 23, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Russia says a decision by a court in the United Kingdom to give a Venezuelan opposition figure access to one billion dollars’ worth of Venezuelan state gold reserves in the country is “outrageous.”

Earlier this week, the British High Court ruled against the Venezuelan government gaining access to the gold reserves stored in the Bank of England and said it recognized opposition figure Juan Guaido as the leader of Venezuela, not elected President Nicolas Maduro. Judge Nigel Teare said the court followed the British government’s decision to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s “interim president.”

“This decision is outrageous,” spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said on Saturday.

She said the court ruling had been based on political expediency and not law.

Zakharova said the UK had in effect seized the gold reserves of a sovereign country in an attempt to back up the perpetrator of a coup in Venezuela.

Guaido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela last January. A number of Western governments opposed to the leftist government of Maduro quickly recognized Guaido as such. The low-profile opposition figure later launched an abortive coup with the backing of the United States and a number of rogue soldiers.

Ever since, governments opposed to Maduro have been blocking Venezuelan cash and other assets in their territories and redirecting them to Guaido.

The British court ruling came after the Central Bank of Venezuela filed a complaint that the British bank was refusing to release Venezuela’s gold reserves kept in London.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has called on the lawyers representing the Venezuelan government to appeal the UK court ruling.

Rodriguez described the decision as “piracy.”

Cash-strapped Venezuela wants the gold to be released from the Bank of England to help fund the country’s emergency response to the coronavirus epidemic.



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