from Zero Hedge:
Earlier this week, we told a fascinating story about an unprecedented, multi-year smuggling ring involving Turkey, Iran, and Dubai (as well as China, Russia and countless other nations) which saw corruption reaching to the very top of the political and financial establishment: from president Erdogan in Turkey, to one of Turkey’s richest people, Iran-born Riza Sarraf, to Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the son of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and one of the world’s richest people. The smuggled object in question was gold, billions of dollars worth of gold.
The focus of the story was the previously unknown Dubai gold trading house, Gold.AE, until recently managed by one Mohammed Abu-Alhaj, which as we showed was the primary conduit by which Turkish physical gold found its way “legally” in Dubai, from where it subsequently left for Iran but not before pocketing millions in “commissions.”
As we reported, Gold.AE – a subsidiary of Gold Holding, the largest gold-focused investment holding company headquartered in Dubai – and the company perhaps best known for launching gold ATMs in the Emirates back in 2010…
… announced a few days ago that it had suddenly and unexpectedly gone out of business, after an inquiry by minority shareholders announced that the entire old “management team abruptly resigned with no notice” and that “there had been substantial withdrawals from the company’s account to the personal accounts of some of the management and the majority shareholders.”
In other words, the company which was used as a cover for billions in gold transactions over the last several years in the Turkey-Iran gold smuggling trade, was suddenly not only insolvent but had been thoroughly plundered of all its holdings, including a thorough plundering of client accounts.
Think the Corzining of MF Global, only on steroids, goes to Dubai.
To be sure the police was quickly involved:
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shareholders are doing everything within their powers to support him in his efforts to recover these monies that were withdrawn from Gold AE in questionable circumstances.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.
And now that the gold-trading company at the nexus of what may have been the world’s biggest gold smuggling ring in history has imploded seemingly overnight, vaporizing countless tons of physical gold and unknown amounts of client cash, even more questions remain.
One attempt to answer some of these comes from the website ofArabian Business, which has picked up on this trail and reports that it is understood that the previous management team were replaced in March, resulting in the appointment of Andres Gauthier as CEO and Mo Nico Consari as managing director.
It is unclear why or what prompted the removal of the previous management team, or why it took nearly 9 months for an update to clients to be issued, in which it was made abundantly clear that there was no money left in the gold trading organization.
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