Two brothers Alain (54) and Sylvain (55) Goetz, of gold smelter Tony Goetz in Antwerp’s diamond quarter, have been convicted as accomplices in a forgery and laundering case of about 1 billion euros and have been subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison. The judges agreed with the prosecutor that the Tony Goetz Company was indeed subject to money laundering in the period 2010-2011 when jewellers massively had their ‘old gold’ cleaned and melted at Goetz gold smelter in Jacob Jordaensstraat in Antwerp. The jewellers always got paid in cash because, according to the Goetz Company, it was “private purchases”. The jeweller had inherited some old jewels or found them in his slider and now came to monetize them. Money laundering legislation did not apply to such private purchases, Alain and Sylvain Goetz defended themselves in court but according to the court, the Goetz brothers have set up this “old gold system” to help jewellers in laundering black money. There is no trace of most sales in the bookkeeping with the jewellers. The investigators intercepted telephone conversations in which a Limburg jeweller informed the attendant at Goetz asking suspicious questions on a certain deposit.
Jewellers who are renowned tax fraudsters in their several countries came to Antwerp from Antwerp, but also from Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany and even from Africa to sell their old. An instance showed how Martin F. of Germany, an unemployed circus artist who had set up an amateur smelter in his garage Germany sold a total of 47 kg old gold to gold smelter Goetz and was paid 1.6 million euros in cash for that in 2011. The “old gold system” was primarily intended for jewellers to launder black money, but that did not prevent other “users” popping up. According to the court, at least three different gangster gangs have laundered their loot via gold smelter Goetz. The money-laundering investigation against Goetz was started after such a raid on an Italian representative of a jewellery firm. The man was robbed of his briefcase in broad daylight on De Keyserlei in Antwerp. An ex-Yugoslavian gangster confessed afterwards that he had the looted gold jewellery melted at Goetz gold dealership. A gang of robbers melted 31 kg of gold at Goetz and went home with more than 1 million euros in cash. The court ruled that Sylvain and Alain Goetz knew very well what they were doing. In addendum, customers who launder large amounts of money are given an eight-month detention period.