A modern-day gold rush believed to be driven by organised crime syndicates is plundering one of SA’s most valuable resources. Research on the world’s illicit gold industry reveals how tons of gold were shipped out of the country between 2012 and 2016, when state capture was at its height. Case studies cited by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI), which conducted the research, show dramatic discrepancies in global gold trade data. Dubai, for example, bought 34 tons of gold from SA in those four years, but the sales — worth about $1bn — are not reflected in SA’s trading accounts. The GI obtained the Dubai information from various international databases including the UN trade statistics database, ComTrade. This data, in turn, comes from individual countries’ revenue services. The Dubai sales are among several SA trades the GI investigated in its research on the illegal gold industry. The research indicates that SA’s fiscus loses $1bn (about R14.4bn) annual...

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