British justice wins battle for ‘drug gold’ after four years of tug-of-war

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British justice wins battle for ‘drug gold’ after four years of tug-of-war

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is allowed to confiscate most of a shipment of gold worth millions of euros and return it to the British state after a legal battle that has lasted almost four years. The NCA argued that the gold was part of a money laundering operation by drug cartels in South America. Various proceedings were initiated against this. The British Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the gold must be almost completely forfeited under the confiscation law.

Venezuela

After British authorities seized the shipment of 104 kilograms of gold at Heathrow Airport in June 2019, the NCA launched an investigation. The shipment, worth more than 4.5 million euros, was said to have been sent from the Cayman Islands and was in transit to a bank in Switzerland. The gold was transported in the cargo section of a private jet that had made a stopover in Venezuela.

False paper trail

NCA agents, along with the Cayman Islands authorities, attempted to demonstrate that a false paper trail had been created to conceal the true origin of the gold, Venezuela. In addition, those involved in the organization and movement of the gold would have been linked to organized crime.

The Supreme Court largely agrees: 80% of the gold reverts to the British state and 20% is owned by a few companies involved.

Gold is an important resource in large-scale money laundering operations of large-scale cocaine trafficking.

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