Caracas - The Simon Wiesenthal Center is looking into whether or not Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has been trafficking Nazi gold that includes ingots made from fillings taken from Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

The Center said in a statement on Wednesday that it’s studying information exposed by the Wall Street Journal indicating that Maduro has managed to hold onto his regime through selling some 73.3 tons of gold valued at $3 billion, to Middle East and Turkish companies between 2017 and February 2019.

In March, it was reported that a further 7.4 tons of gold ingots, valued at $300 million, were sent in two flights of a Russian aircraft from Caracas to Entebbe, for “refining” and sent on to a Middle Eastern country.

Such actions are in violation of United States sanctions, which were imposed on the country under then-president Barack Obama in 2015.

The Center’s director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels said in the statement that “in 1997, I was granted access to the Spanish Central Bank archives on gold transports between 1936 and 1945.”

“The data revealed Nazi ingots containing Zahngold, the gold fillings pulled from the mouths of Jewish corpses between the gas chambers and the crematoria,” he said.

According to the center, “these ingots were sent from Germany to then-dictator Francisco Franco’s Spain,” with part of it going to South America, “principally Paraguay, for passage from Argentina to Venezuela.”

These ingots were reportedly being used to “sustain ODESSA, the so-called network of Nazi fugitives bent on building a 4th Reich,” the Wiesenthal Center added.

“Another holding in the Madrid Central Bank, was reportedly transferred to the British Embassy in April 1945 and sent to the UK as a form of ‘life insurance’ for Franco and to prevent a Communist takeover of Spain,” Samuels said.

He explained that in response to an inquiry by the Wiesenthal Center in 1997, which referred to a cache of gold coins sent to London from Germany - a transfer unknown to the watchdog Tripartite Gold Commission - then-British foreign minister Malcolm Rifkind claimed “he had no knowledge of the Spanish ingots.”

“The chaotic immediate post-war conditions and super fungibility, do not rule out part of the consignment being sent on to the United States, ostensibly for Marshall Plan anti-Communist measures in Europe, diverted to Caracas to pay for oil provided to the American war effort,” he said.

“Indeed,” he said. “Ugandan police claimed that the gold flown by two Russian aircraft in March, had United States markings. In Entebbe airport, the shipment was taken by African Gold Refinery (AGR) for ‘refining’ and then ’export to the Middle East.’”

“Of the two lots sent in March, the first of 3.8 tons was treated and sent out of Uganda immediately,” Samuels highlighted. “The second of 3.6 tons were seized and impounded by Ugandan police. Apparently, President [Yoweri] Museveni ordered the release of the gold and its trace was lost, though two tons were reportedly auctioned in Turkey.”

Samuels reasoned that if the Ugandan shipment had been held “for ‘DNA’ and routing analysis, justice may still have been done for the Venezuelan people and to the integrity of Holocaust memory.” Read more at Reuters