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Court rules Venezuela can claim $1.8B in gold stored in Britain

The Venezuelan government has been keeping about $1.8 billion worth of gold in the Bank of England in London, Britain. File Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE
The Venezuelan government has been keeping about $1.8 billion worth of gold in the Bank of England in London, Britain. File Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A British appeals court in London overturned a lower ruling Monday to clear the way for the Venezuelan government to receive a stash of gold worth nearly $2 billion it had stored in the Bank of England.

A lower court ruled this summer that President Nicolas Maduro's government could not lay claim to the gold because the British government had recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the "constitutional interim" president of Venezuela.

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The appeals court, in setting aside the earlier decision, ruled that the British Home Office needed to clarify its position and noted that London still maintains full diplomatic relations with Maduro's government.

The Venezuelan government had said it needs the gold for humanitarian purposes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maduro remains in control of the Venezuelan government and its military.

The Banco Central de Venezuela sued the Bank of England in May to control its gold. Maduro initially asked the bank to remove the gold in 2018, which was then worth about $550 million. The stash now is estimated to be worth $1.8 billion.

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