Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may transfer billions of international reserves from Europe and the United States into banks in nations like China, Russia and Brazil, an opposition lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Julio Montoya said in an interview with Globovision television that he had obtained documents signed by Venezuela's finance minister and central bank chief revealing plans to move about $6 billion in cash into the emerging market countries, which are more friendly to Chavez's socialist policies.
The initiative would also transfer $11 billion worth of gold reserves from various banks abroad to the Venezuelan central bank, Montoya said.
Chavez has not authorized the plan, he said, and demanded an explanation for what critics and analysts called a foolhardy idea.
"He isn't the owner of the international reserves, nor of Venezuela's gold or dollars," Montoya said.
In recent comments, Chavez has talked about ending the "dictatorship of the dollar" and the need for an alternative monetary system.
Despite strained global confidence in the U.S. economy, most countries still see the dollar as the safest reserve currency.
Montoya said the opposition suspects that China and others had requested the reserves transfer to guarantee massive loans they have granted to Chavez over the years.