The gold bars, which are worth about $850 million, had been weighed and separated for transportation, but will not be sent out anytime soon from the central bank’s vaults in Caracas, the person said. The blocking of the shipment comes just a week after the Bank of England denied Mad officials’ request to withdraw $1.2 billion of gold stored there.
While the destination of the gold and the nature of the transactions aren’t known with certainty, it’s somewhat unusual for a country to be shipping around such massive amounts of gold. And the U.S. officials who are leading the push to have Mad cede power to a transitional government contend that the attempted transactions form part of his authoritarian regime’s bid to ransack the country in its final days in power.
“My advice to bankers, brokers, traders, facilitators, and other businesses: don’t deal in gold, oil, or other Venezuelan commodities being stolen from the Venezuelan people by the Mad mafia,’’ National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a tweet this week.