How Venezuela’s Stolen Gold Ended Up in Turkey, Uganda and Beyond – by Lorena Meléndez and Lisseth Boon (Insight Crime – March 21, 2019)

Insight Crime

What do such distant countries as Venezuela, the Bahamas, Ireland, Morocco, Dubai and Turkey have in common? They were all part of the trade routes for illicit Venezuelan gold in 2018.

The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) sold 73.2 tons of gold in 2018 to two companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one in Turkey. The sales took place without the National Assembly’s approval, as mandated by Article 187 of the National Constitution.

The claim, presented in February 2019 by deputy Carlos Paparoni, president of the National Assembly Finance Commission, recalled there could be no contracts of national public interest with foreign states or companies without the approval of the parliament.

Runrun had access to leaked documents that detailed how the BCV’s gold exited the country throughout 2018. The data was compared with information from, a public website with real-time information about global air traffic, allowing the verification of each flight’s routes and reference numbers. Some of these transfers of gold were made on private aircraft but others went aboard commercial Turkish Airlines flights from Caracas to Istanbul.

According to the customs records accessed by Runrun, 73,2 tons of gold bars were sold between the Emirati company Noor Capital (27.396 tons), the Turkish company, Sardes Kiymetlí Madenler A.S (23.994 tons), and a Belgian firm based in the United Arab Emirates, Goetz Gold LLC (21.886 tons).

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