Swiss authorities urge tighter auditing of UAE-imported gold

Switzerland urges tighter auditing of UAE-imported gold
2 min read
16 October, 2021
Concerns have been raised over gold imported from the UAE, where loopholes have potentially allowed for the trading of conflict gold.
Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said in a letter that refineries should properly identify the origin of gold coming from the UAE. [Getty]

Swiss authorities have told gold refineries to tighten auditing on imports of the precious metal from the United Arab Emirates in an effort to curb trading of illicit African bullion.

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said in a letter seen by Bloomberg that refineries should properly identify the origin of gold coming from the Gulf state. The letter was sent to refineries on October 11.

The secretariat  highlighted the significant amount of gold imported from the UAE, which has totalled 10% of all gold imports this year.

“We have long been cooperative with all international regulations and best practices including anti-money laundering efforts and unethical sourcing of gold,” Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE minister of state for foreign trade, said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg.

He added that tackling money laundering is a  “a critical national priority and is a central focus of the UAE leadership,”

Regulatory loopholes have reportedly allowed gold linked to conflict and money laundering to be traded in Dubai, raising concerns among regulators around the world. According to UN data, 95% of gold originating for conflict-torn parts of east and central Africa finds its way to the UAE.

Concerns about conflict gold reaching Western markets has led to new regulations from European refiners and regulators, some of whom have imposed policies rejecting fold from Dubai.