The Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling recognising Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader in a victory for president Nicolas Maduro.
At the heart of the case is the ownership of £800m in gold that is currently held by the Bank of England (BoE).
Read more: Venezuela heads back to court over £800m pot of gold in the Bank of England
Earlier this year, state bank the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) sued the BoE to regain control of the gold in order to finance the South American country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the UK’s central bank had refused to hand over the money, as in 2019 the British government had been among many around the world to recognise Maduro’s 2018 election victory as illegitimate.
BCV first went to the High Court, which backed the BoE’s stance, before appealing the decision last month.
In his judgement yesterday, Judge Stephen Males set aside the earlier judgement, saying that the UK’s recognition of Guaido was “ambiguous, or at any rate less than unequivocal”.
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The case will now return to the High Court in order to determine which of the rivals is in charge.
BCV has said if it wins its case, it will sell the gold to pay for basic goods from the United Nations Development Programme to help tackle coronavirus on the continent.
In a statement, the bank said: “The Central Bank of Venezuela reaffirms that it will continue carrying out all actions necessary to protect its sovereign international reserves and the sacred patrimony of the Republic.”
Read more: UK High Court rules against Nicolas Maduro in Venezuelan gold case
Guaido’s ambassador to the UK Vanessa Neumann said that the court could issue a new pronouncement within a couple of weeks.
However, she added that other appeals could delay the process.
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