Wednesday, March 9, 2011

As DRC, Keynian Investigation Continues, Most Of Seized Gold Disappears

The probe of the conflict gold market in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued, but in the midst of it much of the gold seized last month is gone.
The tip-off led intelligence agents to an American jet loaded with half a ton of gold, a Houston diamond merchant, and a car chase that produced $6.8 million.

But since the Feb. 5 bust on gold smuggling in Congo, more than $5 million and 198 pounds (90 kilograms) of the gold have disappeared, according to official and banking sources who would not speak on the record for fear of reprisals.
The region isn't exactly a exemplar of law and order:
Eastern Congo in many ways resembles the old Wild West of the United States – only wilder, and much more dangerous.

Tribal tensions exploded after French troops allowed Rwandan genocide perpetrators to escape across the border in 1994. Tribal conflict segued into a civil war that soon ballooned into what some call Africa’s World War – armies from eight African nations and 25 local militias and foreign rebel groups fought above all for control of Congo’s massive mineral reserves. Millions died.

It looks like that probe, even if it extracts useful information about the habits of gold smugglers, won't lead very far.

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