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Bank of England helped Nazis sell gold

Bank of England helped Nazis sell gold.

In historic documents published online for the first time yesterday, it was revealed that the Bank of England had a role in one of the most controversial episodes in its history – helping the Nazis sell gold before the outbreak of the Second World War.

The official history, written in 1950, detailed how the “Old Lady” transferred gold held in its vaults to the Germans, despite the UK Government at the time placing a freeze on all Czech assets held in London.

The UK central bank therefore reportedly sold gold in June 1939 on behalf of the Nazis – without waiting for approval from Westminster. The Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in September 1938 and in March the following year, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) asked the Bank of England to switch £5.6 million-worth of gold from an account for the Czech national bank to one belonging to the Reichsbank.

Moreover, the history reveals that, “There was a further gold transaction on the 1st June 1939 when there were sales of gold (£440,000) and gold shipments to New York (£420,000) from the No.19 account of the BIS”.

Months later the Government declared war on Germany, following its invasion of Poland.

The documents show how the Bank of England defended itself by insisting that its role in the episode was ‘widely misunderstood’.

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