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UAE Company Says Purchased 3 Tonnes of Gold From Venezuelan Central Bank

© AP Photo / Kamran JebreiliBeach in Dubai
Beach in Dubai - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – UAE investment company Noor Capital said it had bought three tons of gold from Venezuela’s Central Bank in the wake of media reports about Caracas’ plans to sell 15 tonnes of gold, backing the bolivar currency, to the United Arab Emirates in exchange for euros.

"Noor Capital does not engage in any illegal or prohibited transactions. On 21 January 2019, Noor Capital purchased approximately three tonnes of gold from Venezuela’s Central bank, per international standards and laws in place as of that date. There have been no subsequent transactions", the company said in a statement published on Twitter on Friday.

The firm argued that its relationship with Venezuela’s Central Bank had been regulated by "clear commercial contracts". Noor Capital said it would refrain from further transactions involving the bank until the situation in Venezuela normalized.

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The company's statement followed US Senator Marco Rubio's claim that a French national working for it was in Caracas on Thursday to "arrange for the theft of more gold from Venezuela". Rubio has warned UEA entities that such transactions would make them subject to the US Treasury sanctions.

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The media reports, citing a senior Venezuelan official with alleged knowledge of the plan, emerged on Thursday. The outlets alleged the Venezuelan authorities sought to sell a total of 29 tonnes of gold kept in the Central Bank reserves to the United Arab Emirates by February in a bid to gain liquidity for imports of basic goods. The reports claimed that Venezuela had already shipped out 3 tonnes of gold on 26 January following the export of $900 million worth of gold to Turkey last year.

On Wednesday, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton warned that the United States would "take action" against any bankers, brokers or traders dealing in gold, oil or any other commodities stolen from Venezuela.

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Earlier this week, Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra claimed tons of gold were due to be taken out of the country via a Russian Boeing 777. Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemsky on Thursday said the reports were pure propaganda techniques designed to damage Moscow’s reputation globally.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russia has nothing to do with the sale of Venezuelan gold, but considers any operations with it to be Venezuela's sovereign right, stressing that Moscow was not involved in any operations with Venezuelan gold.

Various speculations about the fate of Venezuela’s gold have been emerging amid the political crisis escalating in Venezuela since 21 January. The situation resulted in opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaiming himself the country’s interim president amid his confrontation with constitutionally elected President Nicolas Maduro.

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The Trump administration after recognizing Guaido seized billions of dollars’ worth of Venezuela’s oil assets. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the United States of orchestrating a coup attempt while Russia, China, Iran, Mexico and Turkey and several other countries came forward to support Maduro as the country’s only legitimate head of state.

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