Guessing the 3 tons of gold from Russia that turned up in Switzerland

Where does Russian gold come from and how does it get to Switzerland? And who introduced it?

The Swiss customs are currently investigating the recent imports of this precious metal from Russia into the Confederation because of the economic sanctions, as announced on Friday. The questions surrounding this mysterious delivery remain unanswered for the time being.

In May, three tons of gold were imported from Russia to the alpine country with its numerous refineries to smelt bars, the Bloomberg news agency reported last week.

Russian gold has found its way into Switzerland for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine, according to the financial news agency, although the name of the importer has so far remained a mystery.

Bloomberg says the shipments represent about 2% of Switzerland’s gold imports in May. They could also mark a shift in perceptions of Russian gold, which was considered taboo after Russia invaded. Most refineries have refused to accept new gold from Russia since the beginning of the war.

The three tons of gold worth 194 million Swiss francs (191 million euros) came from Great Britain to Switzerland, but “Russia is mentioned in their indication of origin,” the Federal Office of Customs and Border Security (BAZG) confirmed in a media release on Friday.

“The BAZG checks the affected imports with regard to the applicable sanctions,” explains customs, but emphasizes that “for legal reasons, no information can be given about the gold importers”.

For these legal reasons, Swiss customs also did not specify the means of transport used to bring the gold into Switzerland.

The export of gold to Russia is banned due to existing sanctions over the war in Ukraine. However, the import of gold from Russia to Switzerland is “not prohibited by the regulation on measures in connection with the situation in Ukraine,” the customs officials said in a statement.

However, since March 7, bars produced by Russian refineries can no longer be traded in Switzerland. “Ingots produced by Russian refineries before March 7, 2022 can, in principle, still be traded,” the Swiss authorities explain.

In addition, it was said that it would “clarify within the scope of its competence whether the gold is associated with sanctioned persons. In the case of imports by banks, refineries or other economic operators in the financial sector, they are obliged under the Money Laundering Act to carry out a check in this regard”.

“Doubtful gold has no place in Switzerland”

The Association of the Swiss Precious Metals Industry (ASFCMP) announces in a press release that it has been in contact with its members and assured “that none of them is behind these imports”.

However, the association, which includes the 14 largest Swiss companies specializing in the processing and trading of precious metals, called on its members to be vigilant, recommending that they act “with extreme caution” and “if in doubt” refrain .

“Dubious gold has no place in Switzerland,” emphasized the association in the press release.

Through its members, the Association of Swiss Precious Metal Manufacturers and Dealers represents 95% of the volume of precious metals melted and refined in Switzerland, 90% of which is gold.