News has it that Venezuela is involved in illegal mining and sales of gold, and Switzerland is one of its clients. A leader and president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido urged international leaders to help the country stop unlawful mining in the Amazon. He referred to clients buying the gold as financiers of criminal organizations and promoters of crimes. Investigations have shown that Switzerland is part of its clients which means that the country also transacts illicit funds associated with illegal gold sales.
A spokesman from Switzerland, Rachel Strebel, said that no criminal investigation has been initiated in relation to the Venezuelan gold. But Switzerland is watching the situation considering its relationship with the country. In 2019, the National Crime Agency in the UK seized $5.2 million worth of Gold being transported to Switzerland during an investigation into a Venezuelan drug cartel. Another plan with illegal gold allegedly landed in Zurich in the same year. However, until now, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has no received sufficient evidence to initiate an investigation. The OAG will only take up an investigation if it relates to a crime. Strebel noted that press articles are not sufficient to trigger an investigation.
To prevent the flow of illegal funds into Swiss banks emphasize due diligence and know your customers. Vinzens Mathys, a spokesman for the financial markets supervisory Authority FINMA said that the AMLA aims to prevent illicit funds from getting to the banks. Hence, everyone who trades precious metals in banks should strictly comply with AMLA.
In response to this, Donatella Del Vecchio, a spokesman in Switzerland refused to be specific whether any illegal gold trade has been seen in the country or not. This does not imply that Switzerland does not know about crimes associated with the gold trade. However, The Central Office for the Control of Precious Metals issue foundry license valid for four years. This supports that regular monitoring of the due diligence obligations. Also, intermediaries require a license by FINMA to operate in the marketing of precious metals.