UK Supreme Court Sends Venezuelan Gold Dispute Back to London Commercial Court

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Gold bars - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
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LONDON (Sputnik) – The UK Supreme Court on Monday sent the litigation over the Venezuelan gold reserves held at the Bank of England back to the London Commercial Court after allowing "in part" Venezuela's self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido's claim over the $1 billion worth bullion.

“The Guaido's board appeal on the acts of state issue is therefore allowed in part", the judge presiding the case said.

In its ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court accepted the United Kingdom's "clear and unequivocal recognition" of Guaido as president of Venezuela but conceded that the Commercial Court still need to consider whether Venezuelan court decisions ruling Guaido's BCV board unlawful should also be taken into account in deciding who ultimately controls the gold.

"The Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Appeals that it remains necessary to consider whether the Supreme Tribunal of Justice´s judgment should be recognized or given effect on this jurisdiction," the judge said.

© AP Photo / Fernando LlanoOpposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido speaks to supporters during a rally to protest outages that left most of the country scrambling for days in the dark in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, April 6, 2019
Opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido speaks to supporters during a rally to protest outages that left most of the country scrambling for days in the dark in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, April 6, 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
Opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido speaks to supporters during a rally to protest outages that left most of the country scrambling for days in the dark in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, April 6, 2019
Reacting to the verdict, Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner of the legal firm Zaiwalla & Co. representing Maduro's government, noted that 19 months into this case, Venezuela´s assets in the UK remain paralysed and unavailable to be used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our client looks forward to continuing this case, with a view to showing that the Board of the BCV in Caracas is the only validly appointed authority to deal with Venezuela's foreign assets in the interests of the Venezuelan population", he said in a written statement sent to Sputnik.

The case will now continue in the Commercial Court, with a hearing date yet to be set.
The legal battle for the Venezuelan gold started after January 2019, when opposition figure Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in the wake of public protests in Venezuela. After that, the Bank of England refused to fulfill a request made by the Venezuelan authorities to have access to the gold, valued at an estimated $1.2 billion.
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