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UK targets Russian gold in new sanctions package

by Elsa Court November 8, 2023 4:55 PM 2 min read
A view of ingots of 99.99% pure gold in Novosibirsk, Russia on Sept. 15, 2023. (Alexander Manzyuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The British government has targeted Russian gold in a new set of sanctions, the U.K. Foreign Ministry announced on Nov. 8.

The sanctions list includes 29 individuals and entities that support "Russia’s gold, oil, and strategic sectors," ranging from Russian businesses and oligarchs to companies based in third-party countries.

This includes a network of gold traders based in the United Arab Emirates that has channeled over $300 million in gold revenues to Russia, the British government believes.

Two of Russia’s largest gold producers and the country's largest gold refiner have also been targeted.

Gold is a critical source "of revenue for the Russian war machine," U.K. Foreign Minister James Cleverly said.

The element was "worth 12.6 billion pounds ($15.5 billion) to the Russian economy in 2021," making it one of the highest-value income streams for Russia after oil and gas, according to the British government.  

The National Crime Agency, the lead law enforcement agency against organized crime in the U.K., also issued a "Red Alert" to raise awareness that Russia is using gold to evade sanctions.

The agency warns of deliberate attempts to "launder sanctioned gold to mask its origin so that it can be hidden in supply chains and sold in the U.K. and around the world."

The new package also targets Russia's oil sector, with the energy trading company Paramount Energy & Commodities on the list.

The firm "is known to employ opaque ownership structures and has been used by Russia to soften the blow of oil-related sanctions imposed by the U.K. in coordination with G7 partners," the Foreign Ministry said.

U.K. sanctions against Russia have so far targeted over 1,800 individuals, businesses, and groups.

This number includes 129 oligarchs, who had a combined net worth of 145 billion pounds ($178 billion) in February 2022, according to the Foreign Ministry.  

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