Author Topic: Real gold, counterfeit refinery logos  (Read 254 times)

Offline Mr. Bill

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Real gold, counterfeit refinery logos
« on: August 28, 2019, 12:56:22 PM »
Coming soon: greater tracking of gold "kilobars".

Reuters, 8/27/19: Exclusive: Fake-branded bars slip dirty gold into world markets

Quote
...“The latest fake bars ... are highly professionally done,” said Michael Mesaric, the chief executive of refinery Valcambi. He said maybe a couple of thousand have been found, but the likelihood is that there are “way, way, way more still in circulation. And it still exists, and it still works.”

Fake gold bars - blocks of cheaper metal plated with gold - are relatively common in the gold industry and often easy to detect.

The counterfeits in these cases are subtler: The gold is real, and very high purity, with only the markings faked. Fake-branded bars are a relatively new way to flout global measures to block conflict minerals and prevent money-laundering. Such forgeries pose a problem for international refiners, financiers and regulators as they attempt to purge the world of illicit trade in bullion.

High gold prices have triggered a boom in informal and illegal mining since the mid-2000s. Without the stamp of a prestigious refinery, such gold would be forced into underground networks, or priced at a discount. By pirating Swiss and other major brands, metal that has been mined or processed in places that would not otherwise be legal or acceptable in the West – for example in parts of Africa, Venezuela or North Korea – can be injected into the market, channeling funds to criminals or regimes that are sanctioned.

It is not clear who is making the bars found so far, but executives and bankers told Reuters they think most originate in China...

Kilobars are the most common form of gold in circulation around the world, passing fluidly between banks, refineries, dealers and individuals. The identifying features stamped onto a bar’s surface include the logo of the refinery that made it, its purity, weight, and a unique identification number. Each one is worth around $50,000 at current prices.

In parts of Southeast Asia, it’s not uncommon for individuals to use gold instead of cash for big purchases such as real estate...

For recipients, the pirated bars pose a compliance threat: Anyone who holds such metal - including jewelers, banks and electronics firms - risks inadvertently violating global rules designed to keep metal of unknown or criminal origin out of circulation. ...

The LBMA, which accredits global refineries to vouch for the quality of their output, is drawing up standards for security features. It has also proposed a global database containing information about every kilobar produced, as a way of cross-checking the products to add an extra layer of security. ...