Russia is being accused of trying to help embattled president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, move 20 tonnes of gold out of the country’s national bank to Mowsow.
The sudden appearance of a Russian jetliner at an airport in Caracas, Venezuela on Monday week fueled the rumours that Russia, which is Maduro’s ally was going to help him move the gold reserves worth $840million.
A members of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament, sidelined by the Maduro regime, Jose Guerra, said in a tweet on Wednesday that they received information from the Bank of Venezuela that a plane from Moscow arrived to Caracas to “extract at least 20 tons of gold” – 20 per cent of the bank’s holdings.
Guerra is a former central bank economist who reportedly remains in contact with former colleagues.
On Monday, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that an empty passenger plane departed from Moscow to Caracas.
According to Airlive.net, the Boeing 777-200ER belonging to Russia’s Nordwind Airlines, was parked by a private corner of the airport after flying direct from Moscow.
The Aircraft (reg. VP-BJG) flew back to Moscow on Thursday.
Russian Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina has however dismissed the report, with the country’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova telling reporters Thursday that she could not comment on the airliner, “which was not sent for official goals.”
“I can say that this is not about evacuation of Russian diplomats, or their family members or Russian citizens that are employees of overseas agencies or companies,” she said.
Maduro’s government is under increasing pressure from the US and allies that have recognised self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó’s effort to force Maduro from power.