The Bank of England (BoE) is reportedly refusing to release gold bars worth just over $550 million to President Nicolas Maduro, who fears that U.S. sanctions against Venezuela would restrict access to that gold in the future, according to media reports.
Maduro is attempting to repatriate at least 14 tonnes of gold the BoE is currently storing, the British newspaper The Times and Reuters reported citing unnamed sources.
The BoE is said to be holding on to the gold for now because British officials are insisting on a clarification from the Venezuelan government about its plans for the gold to prevent money-laundering, The Times reported.
“There are concerns that Mr. Maduro may seize the gold, which is owned by the state, and sell it for personal gain,” the newspaper said.
Venezuela’s gold stored at the BoE was reportedly used as collateral until last year, backing loans up to several billion dollars from global banks, The Times added.
Another official told Reuters anonymously that this gold repatriation attempt by Maduro has been a two-month ordeal, noting that it has been difficult to get insurance for such a large gold shipment…