June 22, 2024

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How untraceable Russian gold is funding Putin’s war machine

2 min read

The trail of gold is generating a vital source of revenue for the Russian president – Sputnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via REUTERS

Executives from across the gold industry will next week gather at the five-star SO/ hotel in Dubai for the city’s annual Precious Metals Conference.

Speakers include the general counsel of the London Bullion Market Association who will give a talk on “Enhancing governance in challenging times”.

Hanging over the conference is the spectre of Russian gold.

Last week, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) issued a red alert warning that Russia was increasingly using gold to avoid sanctions.

The NCA warned of deliberate attempts “to launder sanctioned gold to mask its origin so that it can be hidden in supply chains and sold in the UK and around the world”.

The UK government has also just become the first Western nation to announce a series of sanctions targeting specific companies involved in Russia’s gold trade.

These include UAE-based gold trader Paloma Precious. Paloma is alleged to have traded $300m (£246m) in Russian gold since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

UAE is now under intense scrutiny for its role in the global market for shadowy Russian gold.

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Russian gold is melted down to scrub it of its origin before being sold on – Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

The metal is being shipped from Russia to refineries in countries such as the UAE that do not have sanctions against Russia. There, the gold is melted down to scrub it of its association with Russia before being sold on.

“Once melted down and recast or refined, the origin cannot be determined by examination, as any hallmarks are lost,” the NCA warned.

The trail of gold is generating a vital source of revenue for President Putin’s war machine. And it is becoming glaringly clear that the bulk of this is moving through the UAE.

London is the centre of the world’s gold trade and London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), which regulates the trade, banned Russian gold shortly after…

2023-11-11 01:00:00

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