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Venezuela Has 20 Tons of Gold Ready to Ship. Address Unknown

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro touches a gold bar as he speaks during a meeting with the ministers responsible for the economic sector at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, March 22, 2018. PHOTO: Reuters/Marco Bello/File Photo
  • Lawmaker claims Russian airplane has come to whisk it away
  • Gold accounts for much of the country’s remaining hard assets

By Patricia Laya and Andrew Rosati | 29 January 2019

BLOOMBERG — Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra dropped a bombshell on Twitter Tuesday: The Russian Boeing 777 that had landed in Caracas the day before was there to spirit away 20 tons of gold from the vaults of the country’s central bank.

The claim set off a welter of social media speculation and outrage. When asked how he knew this, Guerra provided no evidence.

Just another outlandish comment from a lawmaker trying to draw attention to the plight of crisis-torn Venezuela? Perhaps not. For one thing, Guerra is a former central bank economist who remains in touch with old colleagues there. For another, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News Tuesday that 20 tons of gold have been set aside in the central bank for loading. Worth some $840 million, the gold represents about 20 percent of its holdings of the metal in Venezuela, the person said. He provided no further information on plans for those bars. […]

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