Bank Of England Refuses To Release Venezuela's Gold
Meanwhile, as shown in the chart above, Venezuelan central bank statistics show the central bank’s gold holdings by June this year had dropped to 160 tonnes from 364 tonnes in 2014, as some of the swap agreements expired without Venezuela returning the funds - leaving the gold in the hands of the banks. By 2017, swap agreements with Caracas became impossible due to U.S. sanctions, which blocked U.S. financial institutions from bankrolling any new financing operations, while leaving the legal fate of pledged gold in limbo.
Last week, Washington imposed new restrictions against Venezuela targeting the country's gold exports, accusing the Maduro government of "looting" Venezuela's stocks of the precious metals amid the country's economic crisis. The sanctions, which target US individuals and companies trading in Venezuelan gold, was announced by US National Security Advisor John Bolton last week, with Bolton also branding Caracas a member of a "troika of tyranny" along with Cuba and Nicaragua.
Venezuela has made a concerted effort to become a major gold exporter, and is engaged in certifying some 32 gold fields, and building 54 processing plants in a bid to become what Maduro said would be "the second largest gold reserve on Earth."