Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Mysterious Case Of Dubai's Disappearing Gold

Dubai, where eastern magic makes gold disappear (Image source)

On 26 December 2015, we reported the strange case of Dubai's disappearing gold, an long established gold many other nations that have taken advantage of this smuggling ring involving Turkey, Iran, and Dubai (as well as many other nations that have taken advantage of this very convenient arrangement to circumvent trade sanctions) which reveals that corruption in the global trade network reaches right to the top of the pyramid. The involvement of President Erdogan and members of his family in NATO member Turkey in illegal oil trades with ISIS has already been exposed as has Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the son of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and one of the world's richest people. The gold handled by the ring runs to a value of billions of dollars.

The story came to light when previously unknown Dubai gold trading house, Gold.AE suddenly announced it was going out of business. This news sparked wide interest in Gold AE and it was discovered the trader had been the middle man through which Turkish physical gold was moved "legally" to Dubai, from where it travelled on to Iran (after Dubai 'investors' had pocketed millions in fees and commissions, as payment for sanctions busting trades.

Gold.AE - a subsidiary of Gold Holding, the largest gold-focused investment holding company headquartered in Dubai. announced it had suddenly and unexpectedly gone out of business, after an inquiry by minority shareholders revealed that "there had been substantial financial transfers from the company's account to the personal accounts of senior management and majority shareholders."

In a nutshell, the company which had been used as the front for a multi billion dollar sanctions busting operation over many years was insolvent having been thoroughly plundered of most of its holdings. Client accounts had of course been stripped bare.

A press release from Dubai's financial regulator stated:

In order to try and secure/recover monies that had been taken out of the accounts of the company, Mr. Gauthier in his capacity as manager has filed various cases as against the recipients of the funds from the Company (Dubai Police ( Bur Dubai Police Station), Case No: 24378). The minority shareholders are doing everything within their powers to support him in his efforts to recover these monies that were withdrawn from Gold AE in questionable circumstances.

DMCC has alleged that some of these activities undertaken by the previous management are in breach of DMCC's rules and as such they have taken the decision to terminate the license of the Company. We are working closely with DMCC to find a solution and in the meanwhile, we request that you bear with us. In the meanwhile, as a statutory consequence of the license being terminated, the trading platform of the Company has to shut down as of the date of termination of the license which is 24th November 2015.

However, since as Gold.AE admitted a Swiss bank account had been uncovered, it is very unlikely that any of the funds involved will be recovered. The Mr. Gauthier referred to is the former CEO of Godld AE, the makor shareholders of which included SBK Business Holding www.sbkholding.com; Sheik Sultan Bin Khalifa bin sultan Al-nahyan; Sheik Malek Hmood Alsabah; Abu-alhaj Holding; Aruntani Sac.

Now that the respectable gold-trading company at the centre of what was probably the world's biggest and most successful smuggling operation since the pirate Blackbeard ruled the Spanish Main has vaporised tons of physical gold and unknown amounts of client cash, even more questions arise about the stability of the global economy and the integrity of those who run it.

Some answers can be found at the Arabian Business website, which has jumped on the case and reports it is understood the previous management team were replaced in March, resulting in the appointment of Andres Gauthier as CEO (sic) and Mohammed Nico Consari as managing director.

Why the previous management team was replaced, or why it took nearly 9 months for an update to clients to be issued is not explained. When the information was release to clients however the notification made brutally clear that no money remained in the gold trading operation.

And now comes the whitewash which will ensure any link between the criminal Gold.AE and its parent, SBK Holdings-owned Gold Holdings is immediately erased. A spokesperson for the Dubai International finacial Centre (DIFC) has already said:

"We wish to make it clear that although Gold AE is a subsidiary of M/s Gold Holding, which is a DIFC-based holding company, Gold AE and M/s Gold Holding Ltd are two separate entities.

"We wish also to clarify that M/s Gold Holding Ltd is, to our knowledge, not involved in any trading operations, client-facing business affecting clients of Gold AE or the provision of any financial services. Accordingly, it is not regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority."

Why the scramble to exonerate Gold Holding Ltd? Because as we reported yesterday, it is owned by this man: Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sultan is the advisor to the President of UAE, the eldest son of Emir Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi. Sultan may just be most important young person in Dubai, which makes him among the top 20 most important, not to mention wealthiest, in the world. It would not be good for his reputation if it emerged that not only is one of his companies involved in a huge gold smuggling scandal, but that the aforementioned company vanished in a puff of greasy, smelly, brown smoke after an unprecedented case of management fraud was exposed.


Smart Phones Will Not Make Banking Safer

Yet the war on cash goes on. The latest move is to encourage people to use their smartphone to do their online banking. My first reaction on reading this was, "They're having a laugh aren't they?" laptops and tablets are ridiculously easy to hijack, smartphones don't even need to be hacked, like tired old slappers whose sexual allure has gone south, but who still crave attention, they will offer themselves without needing to be asked.

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