07:40 GMT25 July 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) – The litigation over the Venezuelan gold reserves held at the Bank of England was remitted for decision on Wednesday after UK Supreme Court judges listened to allegations from both sides requesting access to the bullion worth almost $2 billion.

    "It will take us some time to consider all the arguments to produce our judgement, but we'll let you have it as soon as we can," Supreme Court president, Lord Robert Reed, said at the end of the three-day hearing.

    The legal battle for the gold began after opposition figure Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in the wake of public protests in Venezuela in January 2019. After that, the Bank of England refused to fulfill a request made by the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) to have access to the gold to buy medicines and equipment to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Bank of England claimed that there was a lack of clarity as to who was ruling Venezuela, so the BCV took it to trial before the London Commercial Court, which, in turn, ruled in July, 2020 against the board appointed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

    The judge presiding over the case then said that since Guaido had been "unequivocally" recognized by the United Kingdom as the president of Venezuela, following a statement made by former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in 2019, that Guaido's ad hoc administrative board had a right over the gold.

    On October 5, the Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and directed the high court to conduct a detailed factual inquiry to determine whether the British government recognizes that Maduro does indeed continue to exercise de facto powers of head of state and government in Venezuela.

    On Monday, the UK government reaffirmed in a statement sent to the Supreme Court its recognition of Guaido as the "only legitimate president" of the South American nation, but the legal team representing the BCV has insisted that such recognition is only de jure, as the opposition leader does not exercise any executive power.

    Lawyer Nicholas Vineall also noted that after Guaido refused to take part in the national elections, contending that it would not be free and fair elections, the European Union withdrew its recognition as interim president and treats him as an opposition figure.
    Tags:
    Nicolas Maduro, litigation, allegations, Venezuela, United Kingdom, Juan Guaido
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