- The Office of the Attorney General and the National Police arrested 25 alleged members of two criminal organizations that would be involved in the commercialization of this metal to the United States, Russia, the Arab Emirates and Turkey.
- One of the impacted networks allegedly laundered about 5.8 trillion. Assets owned by several members were seized for the purpose of loss of ownership of property for 74 billion.
The investigations against the organizations that contribute to the deterioration of natural resources to extract gold in different regions of the country, allowed the institution to find the criminal networks that profit the most from this illicit activity.
These are large structures that, with the appearance of trading companies, are allegedly using different maneuvers to give the precious metal the appearance of legality and export it. Two of these networks were detected thanks to a joint work of the Office of the Attorney General, through the Delegate Office against Criminal Finances and the Special Directorate against Human Rights Violations and the National Police.
Twenty five (25) alleged members of these organizations who carried out different roles in the criminal chain were arrested in proceedings in Cali (Valle del Cauca), Medellín (Antioquia), Guapi (Cauca) and Galeras (Sucre).
Money laundering for 5.8 trillion
The evidence shows a conglomerate of companies that, between 2011 and 2018, allegedly bought gold that was illegally extracted in mining plants in Bendiciones, Bajo Calima and Anchicayá, in the area of Buenaventura (Valle del Cauca) in which serious environmental damages to the Dagua, Calima, Serpis, Bocas de Calima and Malaguita rivers have been confirmed.
The purchase of the metal was documented with certificates of origin and names of deceased persons, deprived of liberty or linked to the health system of the municipalities of Guapi (Cauca) and Istmina (Chocó) who were certified by the National Mining Agency as people panning for gold denominated “barequeros”.
The trading companies NTR Metals Colombia SAS, CI NTR Metals Zona Franca SAS, and Precious Metals Investments SAS, which have existed in different periods of time during the last nine years, would be responsible for carrying out simulated operations to legalize the gold and sending it to the United States. With this illegal scheme, 5.8 trillion were allegedly laundered. The Office of the Attorney General established that 1.2 trillion would correspond to fictitious exports.
In this case, 16 people were arrested and among them are those in charge of buying the gold in the exploitation areas, the suppliers, accountants, responsible for the documentation and exit of the mineral from Colombia, and the legal representative of one of the trading companies. This man was detained in a luxurious apartment in Cali (Valle del Cauca) in which 20,000,000 in cash were seized.
A prosecutor appointed to the Special Directorate against Money Laundering will charge those arrested with money laundering, conspiracy to commit a crime, illicit enrichment, damage to natural resources, environmental contamination, and illegal exploitation of mining deposits.
- Assets seizure
The Special Directorate on Assets Seizure imposed precautionary measures such as suspension of power to alienate property and a seizure process on 18 properties, 12 vehicles, 6 companies, 4 commercial establishments and 14 financial products of different banking entities, whose value would exceed 74 billion.
These assets allegedly belonged to some shareholders of the trading company NTR Metals Zona Franca SAS, which would be involved in the purchase and sale of gold from illegal mining.
The properties were seized in proceedings carried out by CTI personnel of the Office of the Attorney General with the support of Gaula- Army, in Bogotá, Cali and Pasto.
The trading company IRCA C.I. S.A.S made up of a married couple and some of their relatives apparently operated its own money-laundering model from a shopping center in Cali.
There is evidence that shows that they allegedly obtained the illegally mined gold in Guapi, López de Micay, Timbiquí and El Naya (Cauca). The purchases were documented by certificates of origin that had a listed of alleged people panning for gold who were not related to said activity or linked with the company.
In this way, the trading company allegedly evaded the controls of the authorities, obtained the approval from the National Mining Agency and sent 1,699 kilograms of the precious metal to the United States, Russia, the Arab Emirates and Turkey. The investigations carried out by the judicial police reveal that it allegedly made 117 exports between 2015 and 2019, for 63 million dollars, about 190,000 million pesos, according to the exchange rate at the time of the facts.
Nine people suspected of participating in this scheme were arrested such as the representatives and other members of the corporate governance of the company IRCA C.I. S.A.S, and those in charge of buying the gold, transporting it and guaranteeing the legalization.
A prosecutor appointed to the Special Directorate against Human Rights Violations will charge the arrested people with conspiracy to commit a crime, money laundering, illicit gain, procedural fraud, forgery of private documents and illicit exploitation of a mining deposit.
The Office of the Attorney General makes this information public for reasons of general interest.
When we speak, results follow.
The information contained in this press release corresponds to the narration of the objective news provided by the officials in charge of carrying out the criminal investigations within the Office of the Attorney General. By the time this communication is disclosed, the legal status of the people mentioned is still pending to be resolved by the competent judicial authority, always under the presumption of innocence contemplated by Article 29 of the Political Constitution and Article 7 of Law 906 of 2004.