Venezuela despatched gold to Mali, UAE for money, opposition claims | Juan Guaido Information
President Nicolas Maduro’s administration received around $ 1.21 billion in trade to stay afloat despite crippling United States sanctions, an opposition figure claims.
Venezuela sent gold to Mali via Russian-owned aircraft in 2020 to exchange it for euros and US dollars, which President Nicolas Maduro’s government kept afloat despite US sanctions, an opposition official said on Wednesday.
Julio Borges, appointed by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as its chief envoy overseas, told reporters that the gold was refined in Mali and then resold mainly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) so that Maduro’s government would receive at least $ 1 could billions of euros.
The US, accusing Maduro of rigging his 2018 re-election, imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company in early 2019 in an attempt to urge Maduro to resign. His socialist government has increasingly turned to the sale of monetary gold as a source of income, with central bank reserves falling to a 50-year low.
“We urge the US and European authorities to improve their system of dismantling these types of organized crime groups,” Borges said, adding that the opposition had been tracking the Venezuelan gold trade over the past year, according to the report released on Wednesday culminated.
Borges said that Noor Capital – an Emirati company that bought three tons of gold from the Venezuelan central bank in early 2019 but would not conduct any further transactions until Venezuela’s situation stabilized – was involved in the 2020 transactions.
Noor Capital did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Noor had declared in January 2019 that its purchases of Venezuelan gold as of January 21 of this year complied with “applicable international standards and laws”.
Reuters news agency was unable to independently verify Borges’ claims. A person close to the Venezuelan government said much of the gold leaving the country was destined for the UAE after two layovers, but did not provide any further details.
Neither the Venezuelan Central Bank nor the government’s Ministry of Information immediately responded to requests for comment.
The governments of the United Arab Emirates and Mali also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Responding to previous criticisms of the opacity of its gold trade, the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s largest gold centers, has pledged to develop “increasingly robust mechanisms to address the challenges posed by financial crime.”
Washington, which has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s gold exports, said Maduro continued to sell gold to fund the South American country’s government.
“Since 2016, Maduro has actively promoted, supported and facilitated the illegal mining, distribution and sale of gold through its inner circle, financed repression, treated the country’s natural resources as its own and destroyed fragile ecosystems,” said a US official Ministry of Gold state spokesman said.
Maduro, who retains the support of the Venezuelan military and its allies including Russia, China and Cuba, argues that Guaido is a US puppet trying to oust him through a coup.