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Venezuela's interim gov't spent almost $200 mln in three years -central bank

CARACAS, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s interim government, led by Juan Guaido, spent some $198 million during the three years when they formed an opposition to President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, according to a government presentation published on Thursday.

Guaido took over Venezuela’s opposition in 2019 when he invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, garnering backing from the United States and other governments who reject Maduro’s 2018 re-election as fraudulent.

Venezuela’s opposition politicians voted to dissolve the interim government on Jan. 5 and appointed three lawmakers - currently in exile in Spain and the United States - to lead it, and also created a commission to protect the country’s assets abroad.

Guaido’s government had appointed opposition administrative boards at state-oil company PDVSA, its U.S. subsidiary Citgo and the central bank. These boards present their management balance sheets each year.

That opposition board of the central bank has managed an account at the New York Federal Reserve, which held an initial $341 million.

Manuel Rodriguez, president of the opposition central bank’s administrative board, told deputies that $198.2 million from the U.S. account was transferred to the interim government, which allocated the money to a fund.

That fund financed humanitarian assistance in the country, “defense of democracy” programs and the interim government, said the report by the ad hoc administrative board of the South American country’s central bank.

Withdrawing the money required numerous permits, Rodriguez said, including from the U.S. office of foreign assets control (OFAC) and a spending administration council.

In July 2022, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court rejected a suit by Maduro’s government to take control of Venezuelan gold reserves held at the Bank of England.

The reserves include 32 tonnes of gold, worth $1.87 billion.

Following the ruling, Maduro-appointed officials said they had launched an appeal. (Reporting by Mayela Armas Writing by Oliver Griffin Editing by Josie Kao)