He accused the well-known bank of hiding “billions of dollars” in gold in London that belongs to Venezuela. But Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s opposition, wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May and the bank’s governor Mark Carney urging them not to sell or transfer the gold. Maduro told the BBC: “They have sequestered billions of dollars in gold in London that is ours – that is money to buy supplies, raw materials, food, medicines.
“They have sequestered $1.4billion (£1.09billion) for many months, that we are going to use to buy food, medicines in Euroclear.”
Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said the UK believes Mr Guaido is Venezuela’s interim president.
Mr Hunt’s decision influenced the Bank of England’s choice to block the transfer of gold citing operational issues around shipping and insurance.
Maduro then altered his plan and wanted to try and trade the gold with other central banks instead of returning it to the country.
He told the BBC that there was “more or less 80 tonnes” of gold held in London which he hoped would not be “robbed” from Venezuela.
He said: “It’s protected by the central banks.
“It’s gold that belongs to the central bank of Venezuela.
“And I hope that international law is respected.
“And the Central Bank of Venezuela is respected. And that hopefully the law will prevail.”
A Bank of England spokesperson told the BBC: “As you would expect, the Bank does not comment on individual customer relationships.
“In all its operations, the Bank observes the highest standards of risk management and abides by all relevant legislation.
“Before going ahead with any transaction, the Bank needs to be satisfied that the counterparty has the authorisations necessary to request the transaction, that all relevant sanctions are complied with and that there is no evidence that the transaction will involve relevant criminal activity.”
Venezuela previously sold 29 tonnes of gold to the United Arab Emirates in returns for euros in cash earlier this month.
The money was needed to import basic goods while Maduro plunges the country deeper into crisis.
Venezuela’s unstable political climate has divided the world’s major powers, with the US calling on socialist President Maduro to step down and recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as the troubled country’s legitimate leader.