(Caracas) – The Venezuelan opposition accused the government of President Nicolas Maduro of illegally selling gold from the country’s reserves to circumvent international sanctions and obtain cash.
The accusations were launched Wednesday by Julio Borges, the representative of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by nearly fifty countries as the interim president of Venezuela.
Burgess visited Washington recently to unveil the results of an investigation into Caracas selling 300 tons of gold since 2014, with the alleged involvement of Russia, Mali and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the exhibition, who delivered a virtual press conference from the United States, the UAE is the “nerve center” of this smuggling and Nicolas Maduro earned “a little more than a billion euros” in 2020 thanks to these illegal sales.
“Large sums of money left the United Arab Emirates heading to Venezuela to exchange it for Venezuelan gold,” said Burgess, who presented the results of the investigation on Tuesday to the US Treasury and Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He accused “this money arrives in Venezuela without any supervision.”
In response to a question by Agence France-Presse, the Venezuelan government did not respond.
Venezuela, whose gold reserves in the central bank have decreased by 275 tons since 2014 to settle in December 2020 at 85.7 tons, is facing enormous difficulties in accessing liquidity due to the collapse in oil prices and production, which has been exacerbated by the US economic sanctions.
The government is also trying to retrieve 30 tons of gold stored in the Bank of England, but access is denied, with London recognizing Juan Guaidó as interim president.
Julio Borges, who claims to have “documents, photos and videos” to support his accusations, confirmed that the bullion was sent from Venezuela on a Russian plane bound for a refinery in Mali “so that there would be no trace indicating that it was Venezuelan gold.”
Once thawed, it is loaded onto another plane from the United Arab Emirates […] Cash in return […] Loaded on board the Russian plane, “which” “returns to Venezuela,” explains the opponent.
According to Julio Borges, who indicated that the investigation began thanks to information provided by a military official, Libya and Switzerland are also destinations for Venezuelan gold, and two French people working for the UAE financial company Noor Capital participate in these exchanges.
The opponent urged Washington to investigate the matter.