Loose oversight of Colombia's resurgent gold mining industry has made the sector attractive to criminal groups seeking to raise revenue and launder dirty money, say researchers. The problem has worsened as the price of gold has appreciated 100 percent, to roughly $1,800 per ounce, since the approximately $900 per ounce it sold for in January 2008. Second quarter global gold demand in 2011 exceeded 920 tons, worth $44.5 billion-the second highest quarterly value for the commodity on record, according to the World Gold Council. Because of its rising price "gold has very much entered the portfolio" of narco-paramilitary groups involved...
There has been modest success in a decades-long effort to minimize the exploitation of gold. In many instances, money launderers have successfully transferred illicit proceeds through gold by simply tweaking its reported value in customs documents and other records.
The U.S. Treasury Department lifted sanctions Thursday on over 300 individuals and companies linked to a now-defunct Colombian drug trafficking organization known for investing in legitimate businesses and reportedly captive banks.
It can be a rare but difficult moral dilemma for bank compliance officers: what to do when you know that a client wants to wire a ransom payment to kidnappers, a transaction that technically abets a crime.
A former Panamanian president is under house arrest for money laundering and the United States continues its efforts to extradite Colombians tied to a massive Ponzi scheme, in this week's news roundup.