In December 2021, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that the Venezuelan government of elected President Nicolás Maduro should not have access to the country’s gold stored in the Bank of England (BoE).
This decision justified via legal labyrinth will have major long-term negative repercussions on an already shaky notion of international law and business confidence in British institutions and beyond.
International law, a term widely utilized by politicians and the media, is often argued not to be an actual law, but a custom.
As there is no concreate global authority to enforce it, the imposition of international law is left to state and government interests.
Nevertheless, whichever approach one takes towards it, international law is heavily reliant on precedent.
Britain’s decision to prevent the Maduro government from using Venezuela’s gold, thus creates a dangerous precedent which will throw the already fractured global legal system into further disarray.
The primary issue which the British regime is weaponizing to plunder Venezuela’s gold is that London recognizes Juan Guaidó, who did not even run for president in 2018, as Venezuela’s president.
In international law, sovereignty is a primary legal pillar from which other notions are derived and traced back to.
Key features of sovereignty in international law are control over defined territory, authority to apply law, permanent population, organized political community and the ability to enter into relations with other state entities.
These features more concretely apply to the Venezuelan government of Maduro rather than to Guaido, whose recognition as “president” was recently withdrawn even by the European Union (EU).
Initially the EU backed the overthrow of the legitimate government of Venezuela but recently realized the futility of this neo-colonialist approach.
While the negative implications upon the Western constructed framework of international law will be felt in the long-term, the economic impact might come sooner.
For decades the UK has served as a parking lot for dirty money, much of which belongs to kleptocratic regimes from all parts of the world.
As the Western established global order is being restructured and the world’s political-economic compass is in the process of being reoriented, those parking their money in Britain will seek alternative storage places.
As political fortunes shift rapidly in the new multi-polar world order, Western institutions will be less predictable in their standardized practices.
Markets and businesses greatly dislike uncertainty.
Considering that most individuals and organizations that are concealing their money in Britain and other Western banks will most likely be lured to locales in Asia.
The latest tussle over Venezuela’s gold will serve as prominent example of the unreliability of Western institutions.
In light of the West’s weaponization of SWIFT, trade and economic embargoes, not only in Syria and Afghanistan, but also against major industrialized countries like Iran, Russia and China, the confiscation of Venezuela’s gold is no small matter.