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Appeal trial on Venezuelan gold in UK to be held in September

Christian Fernsby |
The appeal judgment on the refusal of the British courts to hand over to Venezuela the gold reserves it keeps in the Bank of England will be at the end of September, the plaintiff announced.

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The lawyer Sarosh Zaiwalla, whose law firm represents the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), informed Prensa Latina that Judge Gary Hickinbottom granted them the right to appeal the verdict issued by the British High Court on July 2, and fixed the hearing by the end of next month.

We are pleased to know that the Court of Appeals will review the entire verdict, because in this case legal and political issues are at stake that are of vital importance to resolve, Zaiwalla said in a statement.

Last July, Judge Nigel Teare ruled against the BCV in the lawsuit against the Bank of England, determining that the gold valued at more than $ 1.2 billion should be delivered to the board appointed by the self proclaimed president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó.

Teare justified his decision by arguing that Guaidó was recognized as the legitimate president of the South American country in 2019 by then UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, and then allowed the plaintiffs to appeal only part of his sentence.

The BCV lawyers argue, however, that London never broke diplomatic relations with the government of the Venezuelan constitutional president, Nicolás Maduro, and that both maintain their respective accredited ambassadors in London and Caracas.

As Judge Teare presented it, a simple declaration of recognition by the British government is enough to wrest control of its assets from another country, without any oversight, and that cannot be correct, Zaiwalla explained.

In the opinion of the London lawyer, if the UK authorities want to use recognition as a weapon to achieve their foreign policy objectives, then they must do so within the limits allowed by law, and submit to the scrutiny of the courts.

The prerogative of being able to recognize a foreign government cannot be used to intervene in a coercive way in the internal affairs of another country, because that would violate international law, he stressed.

Zaiwalla also recalled that the BCV's main interest in recovering its gold reserves is to obtain funds to fight the coroanvirus pandemic in Venezuela, and that he even announced that all transactions would be carried out by the United Nations Development Program.

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