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The Bank is reportedly due to meet Calixto Ortega Sanchez, president of the Venezuelan Central Bank, and Simon Zerpa, the Venezuelan minister of finance, over the repatriation of 550 million US dollars (431 million) of gold.

The Bank is the second largest depository of gold and has been holding Venezuela’s gold deposits since the 1980s.

Andrew Lewer MP wrote to the Bank and the Treasury, criticising the move, saying a meeting “would pose significant reputational risk to the Bank and may be in violation of US Treasury imposed sanctions”.

Mr Lewer said Mr Zerpa has been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department and that Mr Ortega Sanchez “is not a legitimate president” of the Venezuelan Central Bank as his appointment “was not ratified by the National Assembly”.

“It is entirely inappropriate for senior officials of the Bank of England to meet with an individual who has been placed on the US sanctions list for reasons of corruption. To treat with such an individual would threaten the reputation of both the Bank of England and the Government as a whole,” Mr Lewer said.

2018-12-07 13:25:00

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