NGO REPORTS WARN CONFLICT GOLD CAN REACH SWISS REFINERS VIA DUBAI

On 16 July, Swissinfo reported that Swiss refiners — chief among them Valcambi — are under scrutiny due to the high risk of conflict gold originating in Africa entering their supply chain via the UAE, as 2 parallel NGO reports on the subject were published. The UAE exported 149 tonnes of gold worth $7.2 billion to Switzerland in 2019. One of the reports, by Swissaid, examines the gold trade in the UAE, with a focus on the scandal-stricken Dubai company Kaloti Precious Metals and its ties to Valcambi.  The other report is a Global Witness investigation, Beneath the Shine: A Tale of Two Gold Refiners. Like the other report, it concludes that it is likely Kaloti sourced Sudanese gold linked to conflict and human rights abuses in Darfur between 2012 and 2019.  It is said that last month, the the federal Audit Office found “shortcomings” in the current monitoring system for precious metals. Switzerland refines and processes two-thirds of the world’s gold and is the main hub of the international gold trade.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/ngos-warn-conflict-gold-can-reach-swiss-refiners-via-dubai/45907788

The Global Witness report is at –

https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/conflict-minerals/beneath-shine-tale-two-gold-refiners/

The Swissaid report is at –

https://www.swissaid.ch/en/articles/the-dark-side-of-the-gold-trade/

Interestingly, the report says that transporting raw gold in hand luggage is one of the most common methods of bringing illegal gold to Dubai. It says that, despite being criticised for many years, the controls performed by customs authorities in Dubai remain very weak. The ease of customs clearance is a key factor in encouraging the importation of gold from illegal origins. The UAE allows gold to be imported in 2 forms: by cargo (freight), entrusted to a freight agent; or in a passenger’s hand luggage.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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