On 17 February, Global Trade Review reported that nearly 11 tonnes of Colombian gold exports to the US were misinvoiced between 2010 and 2018, new research suggests, prompting warnings that illicit metals trading is proving even more lucrative than cocaine to South America’s criminal gangs. There is said to be a vast difference between the value of gold exports declared by Colombian traders and the equivalent import figures in the US. It is also said that the high-risk status of Colombian gold has also made it much harder for producers to access finance from the formal banking sector.
According to the Alliance for Responsible Mining, artisanal and small-scale miners find it difficult to open bank accounts or access credit at reasonable terms. It is said that the absence of trade finance makes trade-based money laundering (TBML) compliance harder because we are essentially looking at open account trades. Open account trade are where transactions are handled but not financed by a bank.
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