- Lawyer Representing Venezuelan Gov't in Gold Battle Says Guaido Case Divorced From Reality
Lawyer Representing Venezuelan Gov't In Gold Battle Says Guaido Case Divorced From Reality
A lawyer representing the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) board appointed by President Nicolas Maduro in a litigation over Venezuelan gold reserves stored in the United Kingdom, said in a written statement emailed to Sputnik on Thursday that the case built by self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido's legal team is based on procedural and technical points rather than reality
LONDON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 24th September, 2020) A lawyer representing the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) board appointed by President Nicolas Maduro in a litigation over Venezuelan gold reserves stored in the United Kingdom, said in a written statement emailed to Sputnik on Thursday that the case built by self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido's legal team is based on procedural and technical points rather than reality.
The legal battle for the gold began after Guaido declared himself an interim president in the wake of public protests in Venezuela back in January 2019. Then, the Bank of England said it will not fulfill the request made by the BCV to give back the gold it stored over the lack of clarity as to who was entitled to receive it.
"The Guaido Board case is built upon purely procedural and technical points, divorced entirely from the reality of the situation on the ground," Leigh Crestohl, a partner at the London-based Zaiwalla & Co law firm representing the BCV at the UK Court of Appeal, said.
After the BCV board appointed by Maduro took the Bank of England to trial before the UK commercial court, the judge presiding over the case ruled on July that since Guaido had been "unequivocally" recognized by the United Kingdom as the president of Venezuela, the ad hoc administrative board of the bank that he named had a right over the gold bullion valued at an estimated $1.2 billion.
Crestohl highlighted, however, that Maduro's board in Caracas remained in full control of the Venezuelan bank and its facilities, carrying out the day to day functions of the BCV as the country's central bank.
"The so-called ad hoc administrative board [appointed by Guaido] do not even reside in Venezuela and are interested only in claiming authority to very valuable Venezuelan assets in this country," he added.
Crestohl also found "very surprising" that the London commercial court had decided to recognize a board which is not in control of the bank and was appointed by an "interim president" who has no effective control over the territory or apparatus of state in Venezuela.
"This case raises important issues of international law and straddles the boundary between law and politics," the lawyer said.
According to him, overseas observers will be surprised that a political statement by the government on a matter of foreign policy can have the effect of stripping an overseas sovereign party of its rights to its assets in London, and that such action is immune from review by the courts.
"This cannot be right and jeopardizes the perception of the UK as a safe jurisdiction in which to store assets," the lawyer said.
Crestohl also recalled that Maduro's government planned to use the funds resulting from the sale of the gold to buy medicines and equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.