Transforming Dirty Gold To Clean Cash

January 23, 2018 Crime , OTHER

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By

Ricardo Swire

 

Latin American gold is the main precious metal that feeds the United States’ jewellery and electronics demand. As a safe investment, exquisite and hard to trace, gold appeals to the darkest corners of the financial system. Approximately two percent of the gold stockpiled in Fort Knox transits Miami. Over the past ten years US Customs records noted US$35 billion worth of gold was imported to Miami by air freight. South Florida is the favourite market for illegal precious metals. Nearly one third of America’s imported gold enters via this portal. Procurement patterns show the majority is provided by mines operated by drug-trafficking and organized criminal syndicates that use the precious metals market to clean tainted money.

The modern gold rush is driven by soaring market prices. In 2001 gold traded less than US$300 per ounce. Recently the same weight was worth US$1,300 on the open market. Caribbean intelligence officials analysed trends that suggest gold is the secret ingredient in Latin America’s criminal alchemy. Latin American cartels’ yellow metal and white powder sold at high costs to its low income workers and the environment. For the last ten years law enforcement’s international war on drugs severely handicapped drug traffickers’ cash flow. As a countermeasure trafficking syndicates diversified to Latin America’s gold industry. Profits craftily incorporated with mine operating costs or the gold sales to US and multinational companies.

Million dollar cocaine profits are transformed to clean cash via gold exports to Miami, Florida. On a daily basis one trading house Kaloti Metals & Logistics, in downtown Miami, makes large amounts of gold bars from similar imported precious metal. The product is tested then exported. Financial records show in a single year Kaloti Metals & Logistics handled twenty-two tons of gold, worth approximately US$1 billion. As a subsidiary of Dubai’s Kaloti Jewellery Group the Miami based company simply requisitions its gold needs one day in advance. North Texas Refinery (NTR) Metals is another south Florida based precious metal processor with special interest in gold.

In 2004 NTR Metals opened in Dallas, Texas as an international precious metal company. Over the years it processed metal bullion along with minting and recycling services. Data highlighted how NTR Metals supplied sixty-seven Fortune 500 companies that included Apple and Tiffany & Co. In 2012 NTR Metal’s executives visited South American rain forests in search of additional gold sources. The company established a working relationship with Colombia, home to large-scale illegal gold mining. According to Colombian Mining Association statistics only eight tons of such gold were produced by legitimate local mining operations.

In 2014 Colombia’s illegal mining made US$2.4 billion. Two years later sixty-four tons of gold were exported, a significant portion destined for the USA. NTR Metals established a branch in Peru and began regional trading. Acting on circulated intelligence reports Peruvian internal security officials, supported by law enforcement, began targeting illegal domestic gold mining. NTR Metals’ traders in Peru adjusted their business module by smuggling purchased gold to neighbors Bolivia and Ecuador. On Tuesday January 09th 2018 American officials indicted four Peruvians NTR Metals executives for masterminding an illegal US$3.6 billion international gold/money laundering scheme.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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