Tuesday 23 – Wednesday 24 May 2023
The essence of this case concerns control of approximately half of the Republic of Venezuela’s substantial gold reserves, worth about US$1.95 billion, which are held by the Bank of England and the sum of approximately US$120 million held by receivers appointed by the Court.
The question as to the ownership and right to control the gold and the sum held by the receivers arises because: i) In the first claim, by an arbitration claim form dated 14 May 2019, the claimant (“Deutsche Bank”) sought, pursuant to section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996, the appointment of receivers to hold and manage the proceeds of a gold swap contract concluded between it and the Central Bank of Venezuela (“BCV”) in 2015—2017. The court appointed the receivers and the claimant transferred the proceeds of the gold swap contract to them. ii) In the second claim, by a claim form dated 14 May 2020, the claimant (“the BCV”), upon the instructions of the Maduro Board, issued proceedings against the defendants (“The Bank of England”), claiming that the Bank of England was in breach of its obligation to accept instructions from the Maduro Board with regard to payment of gold reserves held for the BCV. In response, the Bank of England filed a stakeholder application under CPR Part 86 and sought an order for the Court to determine upon whose instructions (as between the Guaidó Board and the Maduro Board) the Bank of England was authorised to act.