Bank of England to Decide on Venezuelan Gold, Not UK Government - Foreign Office

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Gold ingots - Sputnik International
LONDON (Sputnik) - It is up to the Bank of England to decide whether to give Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro access to gold reserves it is holding under contract, Alan Duncan, the minister of state at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said.

"This is a decision for the Bank of England, not for government. It is they who have to make a decision on this, but no doubt they will take into account when they do so, the fact that a large number of countries across the world are now questioning the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro and recognizing that of Juan Guaido", Duncan told the UK parliament during an urgent question on Venezuela.

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The statement comes after media reported on 28 January that Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader, who proclaimed himself the country's interim president last week, had sent a letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, asking them to prevent Maduro from pulling out any of gold held in the UK's central bank.

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Guaido reportedly said in the letter to the UK authorities that if the money was transferred it would be used by Maduro government "to repress" the Venezuelan people.

On 26 January, the Bloomberg news agency reported, citing sources familiar with the matter, that the Bank of England had rejected Maduro officials' request to withdraw $1.2 billion worth of gold after US senior officials lobbied their counterparts in the United Kingdom to help cut off the Maduro government from its foreign assets.

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