Peru: BVI registered company investigated for illegal gold mining and money laundering

El Comercio (Peru) reports that

“The company Axbridge Gold, registered in a UK tax haven in the Caribbean, is one of 60 gold exporters rated as high risk due to their links with illegal mining in the regions of Madre de Dios, Cusco and Puno, as well as for buying tons of metal of illicit origin, using nominee directors, engaging in suspicious financial activities and being investigated for money laundering”.

Following the customs authorities confiscating almost a ton of gold in the last two months, El Comercio’s article is based on investigations by the Anti-Money Laundering prosecutor and Financial Intelligence Unit. The three top companies on the list of investigated companies are linked to the British Virgin Islands registered Axbridge.

When El Comercio visited the legal address of one of the companies – the fourth largest gold exporter in Peru – it found a family apartment located above a traditional “ceviche” restaurant.

The remaining 60 companies (half of the gold exporters in the country) under investigation for illegal mining and money laundering include companies suspected of tax evasion and others with links to suspected drug smugglers.

The article (in Spanish) includes a link to a handy infographic (pdf). The main destinations of Peruvian gold are refineries in the US, Italy and Switzerland.

hat tip: Samuel Rotta tweet

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