The Bank of England had “refused to confirm” that it will give Venezuela access to €930 million ($1 billion) worth of gold held on its behalf, according to papers filed in London’s High Court last week.
Venezuela had asked the Bank of England liquidate the gold and send the funds to the United Nations Development Programme so that the UN agency could procure “healthcare equipment, medicines and basic foodstuffs,” according to the papers filed by London law firm Zaiwalla & Co.
“There is no, or no sufficient, basis for such refusal,” the court documents said. “BoE’s conduct is wrongful.”
The Bank of England told CNN that it “does not comment on individual customer relationships.”
“Venezuela is in the midst of an economic meltdown and a dire humanitarian crisis that has prompted 5.1 million Venezuelans to go abroad — mostly to other Latin American and Caribbean countries — as refugees and migrants, as a power struggle between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó drags on,” the UN said in a statement Wednesday.
The bank holds around 400,000 bars of gold in its vaults, worth over £200 billion ($244.6 billion), according to its website. That makes it the second largest keeper of gold in the world after the New York Federal Reserve.