from Sputnik News:
The report comes shortly after the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run gold producer, Minerven, describing the trade in the precious metal as being vital to embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s ability to maintain loyalty among the military.
Citigroup Inc. is planning to sell several tonnes of gold placed as collateral by Venezuela’s Central Bank on a $1.6 billion loan after missing an 11 March deadline to buy back the yellow metal, Reuters reported, citing four sources with knowledge of the matter.
Under a 2015 financing agreement with the New York-based Citibank finance group, the cash-strapped country reportedly converted part of its gold reserves into cash; Caracas was supposed to repay $1.1 billion of the loan on 11 March 2019, while the remainder comes due next year.
According to Reuters’ sources, Citibank’s envisaged sale of the precious metal serves as a guarantee, which has a market value of an estimated $1.358 billion, to recover the first portion of the loan.
Additionally, Citibank will deposit the excess of some $258 million in a bank account in New York, two insiders claimed, which will be out of reach of President Nicolas Maduro.
“Citibank was told that there was a force majeure event in Venezuela, so the grace period was necessary, but they did not grant it”, one of the sources, who belongs to Guaido’s team, told Reuters.
The media outlet then cited a Venezuelan government source as saying that the country’s Central Bank did not transfer the money to Citibank this month. Neither Citigroup, nor the Venezuelan Central Bank has commented on the report yet.
Reuters reported that the development comes as another blow to the Maduro government and the situation in the country, exacerbated by sanctions imposed by the United States.