Case study

Gold from the United Arab Emirates

Photo: Shutterstock

Dubai is an important hub in global gold trading © Shutterstock Dubai is an important hub in global gold trading © Shutterstock

The STP report of March 2018 focuses on rising gold import figures from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Switzerland. This country does not mine gold itself but sells about 20 to 25 percent of the gold traded worldwide.

The STP investigated gold imports from the producing countries Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Liberia and found that some companies in Dubai were, and most likely still are, trading centers for smuggled and conflict gold.The armed conflict in Sudan has claimed hundreds of thousands of victims since 2003. Hundreds of thousands more have been displaced. Gold feeds this conflict: Most of these gold mines are controlled by armed groups that earn an estimated 54 million dollars a year with their activities. The STP report reveals that Kaloti, Dubai’s largest gold refinery, imported over 50 metric tons from Sudan alone in 2012. That is about 4 tons more than were officially mined in Sudan in 2012.According to the UN Comtrade database, the UAE imported 94 percent of gold exported from Sudan in 2015 and gold smuggling from Sudan was still continuing in 2017.In 2012, e.g., Kaloti purchased hundreds of kilos more from Liberia, one of the poorest countries in Africa, than were officially produced in that country. It can be assumed that this difference would have contributed significantly to Liberia’s economy and provided the government with urgently needed income.In addition, the STP has information proving that gold was imported from the Congolese civil war region to gold traders in Dubai between 2012 and 2014 and the UN assume that conflict gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo is still reaching Dubai.

Link to Switzerland

Inadequate controls are making the United Arab Emirates a prime destination for conflict and smuggled gold, from where it is traded all over the world – including Switzerland. Switzerland is one of the most important buyers of gold from the UAE. At over 370 metric tons, the volume of imports had never been as high as in 2016. According to Swiss foreign trade statistics, Switzerland bought more gold from the UAE than from any other country that year. While refineries and banks gave different answers to a request for information, Kaloti has indicated that it has gold trading relationships with partners based in Switzerland. How can Swiss customers ensure they know where the gold actually comes from and under what conditions it was mined?

Go to PAMP’s statement (March 2018)

Report in English

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