Gold’s attractiveness to criminals forces market participants to shoulder the AML-KYC burden – by Ernest Hoffman (Kitco News – June 4, 2024)

(Kitco News) – The biggest gold-smuggling bust in Hong Kong’s history has brought the challenges of detecting illegal movements and transactions of precious metals into sharp relief, according to a June 2 report from consulting firm Alvarez and Marshall.

“On 27 March 2024, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department made its largest ever gold-smuggling bust — approximately 146kg, with an estimated market value of HKD 84 million — at the Hong Kong International Airport,” the report stated. “The gold was not smuggled as ingots or jewelry with serial numbers as one might expect, but was disguised as parts for air compressors.”

Authors Henry Chambers and Benjamin Teo wrote in ‘Following the Midas Trail – Laundering Money Through Gold and Precious Metals’ that cases such as this one raise an important question: “Can forensic practitioners trace the movement of luxury items, such as physical gold, and how are these valuable items controlled?”

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