The British unit of the multinational investment bank Citigroup plans to sell off more than a billion dollars of Venezuelan gold after Caracas missed a buyback deadline due to the increasing economic war being waged against the South American country.
Venezuela had taken out a $1.6 billion loan from Citigroup and put up a large quantity of gold as collateral. They planned to pay back the loan, after which, the Venezuelan gold collateral would have been returned. Venezuela argued that US sanctions and assets seizures have prevented the country from paying back the loan on time, but the bank refused to extend the deadline.
The total value of the gold being sold is roughly $1.358 billion. Venezuela was due to repay $1.1 billion of the loan on March 11, according to the terms of the 2015 deal with Citigroup. While the remainder of the loan was not due until next year, the bank plans on keeping more than $250 million after the sale of the gold and it will be deposited into US bank accounts in New York.
Juan Guaidó reportedly approached Citibank earlier this month, urging the investment bank to block the Venezuelan government from repurchasing gold. The US backed politician and US officials also reportedly urged the Bank of England not to transfer reserves back to the Venezuelan government.
The development marks another blow in the economic war against Venezuela. Not only will the government of Venezuela not be able to access the funds in the US, the money could be transferred over to the western backed coup forces.