The Venezuelan government filed a lawsuit to use its gold reserves held by the Bank of England in the fight against the Corona-virus.
Since late 2018, the Bank of England has refused to hand over and return 31 tons of gold belonging to the Venezuelan Central Bank that had been deposited in its vaults.
The May 14 claim, filed in a London commercial court, seeks to force the UK Central Bank to repatriate an estimated US $1 billion worth of Venezuelan gold.
The Venezuelan government would then sell the gold and transfer the proceeds to the United Nations Development Program in order to buy food, medicines and healthcare equipment.
Venezuela has been one of the countries least affected by COVID-19 in the region. However, recent days have seen a spike in cases, most of them returning Venezuelan migrants from Colombia.
The country’s authorities announced 131 and 75 new cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, over 85% of them “imported” from Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, taking the total to 824, with 10 deaths so far.
The lawsuit follows an April request that the Bank of England itself sell part of the reserves and send the funds to the United Nations to help the country battle the pandemic.
The Venezuelan government in Caracas has seen a host of other state assets abroad blocked, including bank accounts and US-based oil subsidiary CITGO.
CITGO is now at risk of being seized after the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in a case involving Canadian mining giant Crystallex.
The decision upholds a 2019 ruling by the third US Circuit Court of Appeals allowing Crystallex to seize Citgo shares as a way of collecting on a $1.4 billion payment owed by the Caribbean nation.
The compensation for a 2008 nationalization of Las Cristinas gold mine under the government of Hugo Chavez was awarded by the World Bank’s international arbitration tribunal.
Crystallex’s right to seize CITGO shares had been the subject of several appeals and counter-appeals, while US financial sanctions have blocked Caracas from making payments to the Canadian firm as part of a possible settlement.
However, Crystallex will face further legal hurdles in laying hands on the shares. Last November, the Treasury Department decreed that claimants against Venezuela require a special permission before seizing assets.
The CITGO shares are likewise imperiled by ConocoPhillips, whom also operate confiscated oil fields in the Middle East protected by the US military in Syria.
The Texas-based oil multinational looking to collect on a $2 billion indemnification awarded by the International Chamber of Commerce over the 2007 expropriation of the company’s assets in Venezuela.
ConocoPhillips, owned by the Rockefeller’s also intentionally helped the government in Curaçao to destroy the oil refinery operations in the Dutch colony in the Caribbean.
Additionally, 51% of CITGO was pledged as collateral for PdVSA’s 2020 bond. After a $900 million payment was missed in November, the Trump Administration moved to block transactions involving the bond or the attached CITGO shares until July 2020.
The US Treasury Department (now managed and operated by BlackRock) has imposed successive rounds of punishing sanctions against the South American nation in recent years.
These forms of bribery and extortion are used by the American entities all over the world to confiscate and annex properties belonging to the victimized countries.
Venezuela Analysis / ABC Flash Point Extortion News 2020.