The High Court in London denied Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro access to more than 1 billion dollars worth of gold on Friday. According to the ruling, Maduro cannot access the funds because the UK does not recognize him as president of Venezuela.
The conflict arose when the Bank of England refused to release the funds to Maduro. The UK recognizes, like the US and more than 50 other governments, Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela, although Maduro has the support of Russia and China.
The highly controversial election in 2018 re-elected Maduro to a second six-year term. The election was boycotted by most opposition groups, and went unrecognized by the opposition-held National Assembly. The National Assembly considered the presidency vacant.
Guaidó, the leader of the National Assembly, assumed the role of president as authorized by the Constitution.
Maduro claimed he sought the funds to transfer to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Theoretically, the UNDP would then use the funds to administer aid to Venezuela to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
Guaidó, on the other hand, prefers the Bank of England hold onto the funds, not wanting it to fall into Maduro’s hands. Guaido claims the Maduro administration is illegitimate and corrupt.