Russia and Venezuela are among the countries the EU, including Great Britain, has imposed sanctions on. Both nations have been targets of London’s vigorous attacks, being blamed for numerous nefarious things they have allegedly done. The UK insists that everyone play by the rules. Meanwhile, London is making mockery of commonly accepted norms in the international relations.
The government of Venezuela is seeking to eventually repatriate at least 14 tons of gold held at the Bank of England (BOE). It has recently asked to release the gold bars worth about £420 million or $550 million. This is the right and timely move as the new round of punitive measures recently imposed on Caracas by Washington showed. The Bank has refused to do so!
UK officials have reportedly insisted that Venezuela clarify its intentions for the gold. Venezuelan President Maduro is suspected by London of harboring plans to sell the national treasure for personal gains. There is also a subterfuge used to explain why the Venezuelan property has not been returned to the owner. The UK says it’s very hard to obtain insurance for the shipment to move the large cargo. Even if Venezuela gets the gold back, it’ll be a large order to use it for raising hard currency because of the new round of US sanctions announced on Nov.1. With the penalties in place, it’s impossible to sell the gold straight from the Bank of England.
The UK knows better who should be suspected of what and who can be trusted to have one’s own property returned. If it’s not theft, then what is? The rules of civilized behavior, you say? Forget about it, it’s up to London, faithfully complying with the instructions coming from Washington, to decide what’s civilized and what’s not.
According to US National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton, “The new sanctions will target networks operating within corrupt Venezuelan economic sectors and deny them access to stolen wealth.” The NSA explained that “Most immediately, the new sanctions will prevent US persons from engaging with actors and networks complicit in corrupt or deceptive transactions in the Venezuelan gold.” So, the US administration is the supreme judge to decide what exactly transactions are “corrupt” or “deceptive”. London snaps to attention, salutes and rushes to do what it is told by “superiors”.
Today it’s Venezuela; tomorrow it could be any other holder on the list of more than 30 nations keeping gold reserves in BOE vaults.
Venezuela, a member of the “troika of tyranny”, is trying to become a major gold exporter. It is engaged in certifying some 32 gold fields, and building 54 processing plants.
The flagrant encroachment on the rights of the sovereign state affects other nations, which also have their interests damaged. Russia is among them. Moscow prefers the precious metal to greenbacks, so it has become a major world gold importer. Last year, it purchased a record 92, 2 tons to make the reserves exceed 2 thousand tons. It may soon catch up with Italy (2451, 8 tons) and France (2436 tons) – the third and fourth world gold holders. The illegal British activities are a direct threat to Russia’s national interests.
Germany, the second biggest holders of gold in the world after the US with 3,378 tons, finished repatriating 300 tons from the US last year. It had taken the United States several years to do it! It was reported that the gold bars received by Bundesbank had different labels to make one think that US might have replaced the German bullion with different gold bars bought from the market. It means the gold was not in place when the Germany’s request for return was made. Perhaps, the UK is not able to comply with Venezuela’s request for the same reason – the gold is not in vaults and London needs time to purchase it.
Koos Jansen, a contributor to BullionStar, has questioned whether Fort Knox’s gold is still there. Former Representative Ron Paul tried to figure out some of the mysteries around the Federal Reserve by questioning the organization and interrogating representatives of the Fed. He never received a clear answer. The US government does not audit the gold.
There is another reason why Russia is affected – Venezuela is its big economic partner. Caracas pays its bills. Moscow wants it to be solvent.
The very fact that Great Britain asked Venezuela “what do you need your gold for?” is preposterous. This kind of behavior is unacceptable and outrageous. Will London refuse to pay for Russia’s gas deliveries asking Moscow “what do you need your money for?” This time Great Britain has gone too far. This precedent is important enough to justify ringing alarm bells across the international community. It’s either we have commonly accepted norms of behavior respected or live in a jungle. Instead of attacking Russia and other nations without any proof to substantiate the claims, the UK government would have done better by looking at itself in the mirror. Now everyone can see that the UK is an unreliable partner to deal with. It’ll take a long and hard effort to restore London’s reputation.