The Bank of England has blocked Nicolas Maduro’s officials from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth of gold, Bloomberg reported, dealing a further blow to the embattled Venezuelan President as he tries to salvage his authority.
According to the report, which cites unnamed people familiar with the matter, the gold is a significant part of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank.
CNN has not been able to independently verify the report and is attempting to get a response from Maduro’s officials.
The move by the Bank of England came after top U.S. officials urged the British government to help cut off Maduro’s access to his country’s assets, the report said, and instead steer them towards opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has claimed the presidency.
On Saturday, the UK joined the US and a host of other countries by saying it would recognize Guaidó as the country’s interim President if new elections were not called within the next eight days.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States in saying that the National Assembly and its President Juan Guaidó are best placed to lead Venezuela to the restoration of its democracy, its economy and its freedom,” said UK Minister of State Alan Duncan.
In a statement, the Bank of England said Saturday that it provides gold custody services to a large number of customers, but it does not comment on those relationships.
“In all its operations, the Bank observes the highest standards of risk management and abides by all relevant legislation, including applicable financial sanctions,” the statement said.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement Friday it plans to use economic and diplomatic tools to ensure any commercial transactions with the Venezuelan government are “consistent” with the US-recognized government of Venezuela led by Juan Guaidó.
CNN’s Simon Cullen contributed to this report.