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How 7.4 Tons of Venezuela’s Gold Landed in Africa—and Vanished
WSJ ^ | June 18, 2019 | Gabriele Steinhauser and Nicholas Bariyo

Posted on 06/18/2019 9:26:28 PM PDT by luv2ski

ENTEBBE, Uganda—The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is selling off his country’s gold reserves. Some of it has passed through a secretive operation in East Africa, a gambit that evades U.S. sanctions.

On two early-March flights, at least 7.4 tons of gold with a market value over $300 million moved from Venezuela to a refinery in Uganda, say officials in Venezuela and Uganda, a foreign diplomat and Venezuelan opposition lawmakers, who have concluded Mr. Maduro’s government exported the ingots.

The gold arrived on a Russian charter jetliner in two shipments at the international airport in Entebbe, says Ugandan national-police spokesman Fred Enanga. The accompanying paperwork identified the ingots, some with stamped labels partially scratched off, as Venezuelan central-bank property, says a senior Ugandan police officer who saw the bars and documents. Flight records show the trips originated in Caracas, Venezuela.

The shipments expose one link in a global underground economy many suspect is helping Mr. Maduro cling to power by bypassing the U.S.-dominated international finance system. Washington has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, slapped financial and other sanctions on Venezuelan officials and institutions, and threatened penalties for others doing business with the regime.

(Excerpt) Read more at wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Cuba; Foreign Affairs; Russia
KEYWORDS: corruption; cuba; gold; maduro; nicaragua; nicolasmaduro; russia; venezuela
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Gold is the currency for dictators and terrorists b/c it basically cannot be traced once it is refined.
1 posted on 06/18/2019 9:26:28 PM PDT by luv2ski
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To: luv2ski

The standoff between the two leaders is reverberating beyond Venezuela, with some 50 countries joining the U.S. in backing Mr. Guaidó while others side with Mr. Maduro. What was once Latin America’s richest economy is starving, its oil sales have dwindled and citizens are suffering through dayslong power outages and shortages of basic goods.

Gold sales, U.S. and other officials say, are one of the government’s final financial lifelines.

The gold that arrived in Entebbe passed through African Gold Refinery Ltd., or AGR, in a compound about 500 yards from the old runway before being exported to the Middle East, Ugandan police say.

The refinery started operations in 2015. Some of the gold it processed was allegedly smuggled from conflict-torn eastern Congo and other African nations, according to officials with Ugandan police, the country’s Financial Intelligence Authority and regional smugglers.

Gold from AGR has made its way into supply chains at U.S. companies including General Motors Co. , General Electric Co. and Starbucks Corp. , the firms’ filings for 2018 with the Securities and Exchange Commission show, despite U.S. measures to discourage use of so-called conflict minerals from Congo.

GM prohibits suppliers from using forced or involuntary labor or engage in corrupt business practices, a spokesman says. GE declined to comment. Starbucks didn’t respond to requests for comment.


2 posted on 06/18/2019 9:27:23 PM PDT by luv2ski
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To: luv2ski

Would make great chess pieces.


3 posted on 06/18/2019 9:27:42 PM PDT by BenLurkin (The above is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire. Or both.)
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To: luv2ski

AGR General Manager Cherry Anne Dacdac says the company hasn’t processed smuggled or conflict gold and declines to comment on the March shipments. She says all AGR’s business is legal and that in a March 26 management meeting it agreed it won’t accept transactions related to Venezuela.

AGR has processed and exported more than 38 tons of gold since it started operations, Ms. Dacdac says. The scale of its operation helped drive gold in 2018 to overtake coffee as the leading export from Uganda, which mines little of it.

The refinery appears to act with support from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, court and other documents reviewed by the Journal suggest. A spokesman for Mr. Museveni says the president “backs the plant just as he does all other investors” in his quest to transform Uganda’s economy.

The Maduro government’s prior gold sales have been an open point of contention. Between late 2017 and Feb. 1, 2019, the central bank sold at least 73.3 tons of gold, with a market value of around $3 billion, to companies in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, the National Assembly’s finance commission announced in February.

The White House on Nov. 1 announced sanctions intended to stop Venezuelan gold sales. Since then, several dozen more tons have been removed from the central bank and secretly exported, say opposition lawmakers and a person familiar with the bank’s reserves. The bank for weeks was left without power and water.

“It’s a fire sale,” says one of the lawmakers, Ángel Alvarado, who is on the finance commission. “The regime is scraping the barrel, selling off anything of value to keep itself afloat.”


4 posted on 06/18/2019 9:28:52 PM PDT by luv2ski
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To: luv2ski

A U.S. Treasury Department official says: “Treasury is committed to holding accountable those operating corruptly in Venezuela’s gold sector.”

Spokesmen for Venezuela’s central bank and Information Ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Maduro government has said little publicly about its gold sales and routinely dismisses sanctions and accusations of wrongdoing as part of an international campaign to besmirch Caracas.

Mr. Goetz’s gold
AGR was founded in 2014 by Alain Goetz, 54, a Belgian businessman who has worked more than three decades in the African gold trade.
More at link.


5 posted on 06/18/2019 9:30:07 PM PDT by luv2ski
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To: luv2ski

Sounds like what happened in Ukraine. Only Obama brought it here and it vanished.


6 posted on 06/18/2019 9:32:21 PM PDT by caww
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To: luv2ski; Diana in Wisconsin
This post might get pulled because it's related to a certain letter that shall not be named outside of the official thread, but rumor has it that there is going to be a global currency reset starting August 1st with a gold standard based in Zimbabwe, and every nation will be on the gold standard, which means the Federal Reserve and the income tax will be abolished and our national debt will disappear overnight.

Could be the cheap beer talking tonight though (Diana, I couldn't afford the good stuff until Friday, the van broke down lol).

7 posted on 06/18/2019 9:33:19 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Isn't it funny that the very people who scream "My body, my choice" wants a say in your healthcare?)
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To: luv2ski
Gold is the currency for dictators and terrorists b/c it basically cannot be traced once it is refined.

I am far more worried about governments, including the USA, being able to track, tax, surveil, prosecute, and politicize my every financial transaction I make. gold is the currency of freedom. Printed, fiat, centrally-controlled money is the currency of statists and marxists

8 posted on 06/18/2019 9:34:44 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: luv2ski

Recently reported Maduro was looking for an exit before his Military turns against him.......not unusual for these dictators to move the nations wealth into other countries coffers for their easy access before they leave. Guess they figure they’re entitled to it. A bird in hand so to speak.....


9 posted on 06/18/2019 9:37:21 PM PDT by caww
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To: BenLurkin

When will Ian Fleming bring this story to the screen.
Unreal. Waiting for more detail.


10 posted on 06/18/2019 9:41:14 PM PDT by ptsal
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To: BenLurkin
I remember a movie where stolen gold was made into miniature Eiffel Towers (The Lavender Hill Mob), but not one having golden chess pieces.
11 posted on 06/18/2019 9:45:19 PM PDT by Steely Tom ([Seth Rich] == [the Democrat's John Dean])
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To: Steely Tom

Gold for black. Platinum for white.


12 posted on 06/18/2019 9:48:58 PM PDT by BenLurkin (The above is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire. Or both.)
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Having tons of gold have got to be a nightmare. Moving it is a vulnerability. You have to guard it, and guards the guards.


13 posted on 06/18/2019 10:05:57 PM PDT by proust (Justice delayed is injustice.)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

I give that a 17% chance of being right.


14 posted on 06/18/2019 10:06:09 PM PDT by LukeL
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To: luv2ski

This would be where the Mission Impossible Force hatches a complicated plan to divert the gold into a fund to rebuild Venezuela after the Communists flee, leaving the corrupt Commies with gold-plated lead bars. If there were such a force.


15 posted on 06/18/2019 10:29:49 PM PDT by \/\/ayne (I regret that I have but one subscription cancellation notice to give to my local newspaper.)
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To: luv2ski

Yes, because freedom loving leaders know that being able to track every transaction and every bit of money keeps us safe.
Any other bright ideas?


16 posted on 06/18/2019 10:39:00 PM PDT by DesertRhino (Dog is man's best friend, and moslems hate dogs. Add that up. ....)
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To: ptsal

When will Ian Fleming bring this story to the screen.


Interesting. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Would be perfect for Sean Connery .


17 posted on 06/18/2019 10:41:45 PM PDT by redshawk (0pansy is a Liar and Hates.........he just hates!)
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To: luv2ski

Gold was also money for a free people. The government confiscated somewhere around 20,000 tons criminalizing a basic element of the periodic table.

Just because something or some thing can be used in bad ways by bad people doesn’t really mean anything, if you stop and think about it. Or is there some greater truth we’re supposed to draw from that?


18 posted on 06/18/2019 10:49:03 PM PDT by Freedom4US
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To: BenLurkin

[Would make great chess pieces.]

I like it. Once I’m worth over $100 million, I’m gonna have a nice set made.


19 posted on 06/18/2019 10:51:21 PM PDT by SaveFerris (Luke 17:28 ... as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold ......)
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To: BenLurkin

[Gold for black. Platinum for white.]

I like it.


20 posted on 06/18/2019 10:52:06 PM PDT by SaveFerris (Luke 17:28 ... as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold ......)
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