Russian oligarchs find loophole to avoid UK sanctions as alert issued

Vladimir Putin

Russian oligarchs are using gold to avoid sanctions

Tom Fredericks

By Tom Fredericks

Published: 08/11/2023

- 14:56

Updated: 08/11/2023

- 15:14

Russian oligarchs were sanctioned by the UK Government following the Ukraine invasion

Russia is using gold to get round sanctions slapped on the Putin regime by the UK following the invasion of Ukraine.

The National Crime Agency has issued an alert to financial institutions warning how the Russians are hiding the high value mineral in supply chains and trying to sell it in the UK and around the world.

The Agency says gold is a major funder of Russia’s war effort. It was reportedly worth £12.6billion to the Russian economy in 2021.

And today the Foreign Office has announced new sanctions on a number of individuals and entities operating in and supporting Russia’s gold sector.

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Adrian Searle, Director of the National Economic Crime Centre at the NCA said: "Sanctions evaders undermine UK national security, working against our foreign policy objectives which promote international peace and security, and the rule of law.

"With the robust implementation of controls by the UK financial sector and our international partners, to identify and disrupt sanctions evasion, we have seen consequent attempts to use gold to circumvent the sanctions regime."

The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) accredits gold refineries around the world.

It sets the standards for what constitutes ‘London Good Delivery’ gold which has become the “de facto” global standard.

\u200bNational Crime Agency

National Crime Agency has issued an alert to financial institutions


The LBMA accredited refineries account for 85-92 per cent of annual global mined gold production.

Searle added: “London’s precious metals market sets the global standard for the quality of gold.

"The sector plays a key role in supervising the trade and improving record keeping to boost the integrity of the supply chain.

"This alert will aid efforts, in partnership with the regulated sector, including the banks and high value dealers, to ensure that sanctioned individuals or those who represent them cannot use gold to circumvent UK sanctions."

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