Venezuela Prepares to Fly Tonnes of Central Bank Gold to UAE

Maduro's Master Plan for Venezuela Swapping 29 Tons of Gold for Euros with the UAE 1

Maduro's Master Plan for Venezuela Swapping 29 Tons of Gold for Euros with the UAE 1

Venezuela has turned to the United Arab Emirates for an emergency supply of cash as it battles to stay solvent, planning to sell the Gulf country 15 tonnes of gold reserves from its central bank vaults, a senior official told Reuters.

Turkish government statistics stated that between January and September of a year ago, Venezuela exported $900 million of unrefined gold to Turkey before starting to sell gold reserves to allied countries.

The Russian opposition newspaper reported its sources said vehicles owned by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates had arrived on the tarmac in Dubai, and "gold was removed from the plane, which was then loaded with containers filled with cash in US dollars", according to news outlet Meduza.

Maduro's government resorted to selling off gold about a year ago after falling oil production, economic collapse and mounting US sanctions hit public income and made it hard for the country to access credit.

On Thursday, Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who is helping spearhead the U.S.'s hard-line stance toward Maduro, fired off a tweet calling out the United Arab Emirates' Noor Capital as the financial firm orchestrating the gold transaction with Venezuelan authorities.

Press officials for Venezuela's central bank and Finance Ministry didn't respond to requests for comment.

A person who answered the phone at Solar Cargo denied the company was involved in transporting gold, then hung up. That was incorrect, the source said, and has been denied by Moscow.

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Those who were handling the transaction were ostensibly angered by increasing worldwide drive to "ring-fence" Venezuela's hard assets, according to the source.

Caracas reportedly needs cash for imports of basic products that it sells to the population at subsidized prices.

Venezuela agreed a deal in January to send more gold to Turkey this year, where it will be refined and certified in the Turkish city of Corum. Together, they represent about 10 percent of all the Venezuelan central bank's foreign reserves.

The source added that the gold bars, worth about $850 million, had allegedly been prepared for transportation at the Venezuelan Central Bank but that they will "not be sent out anytime soon".

The gold held in Caracas and London is an important source of wealth for a nation that has plunged into extreme poverty under Maduro's socialist rule.

In an attempt to buy in imports and meet the demands, President Nicolas Maduro has been using the country's gold reserves.

Rubio said that a "French national" working for Noor Capital was in Caracas "to arrange the theft of more Gold from #venezuela".

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