Gold exports ‘more attractive than cocaine’ to Colombia’s criminal gangs, research finds

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. According to a study by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a US-based think tank that tracks the illicit movement of goods and funds, there is a vast difference between the value of gold exports declared by Colombian traders and the equivalent import figures in the US. The accumulated value gap over that eight-year period, both from over and under-invoicing gold trades, is estimated at around US$2.7bn. The value gaps for trade with India and Switzerland are also each over US$1bn. With Colombia’s mining association estimating that 70% of gold exports derive from illegal activities, GFI reiterates warnings from US State Department officials that illicit gold trading can now provide criminal groups with higher and easier returns than trafficking cocaine. “There are certain qualities inherent to gold that make it vulnerable to illegal extraction, trafficking and laundering,” GFI says in the report, which was co-authored with Colombia’s Alliance for Responsible Mining and Bogotá-based think tank Cedetrabajo. “Not only tremendously valuable, it is also portable and… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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