First Convictions in Chile's ‘Gold Clan’ Case

Опубликовано: 07 Декабрь 2023

Chile Gold ClanSome of the illicit gold that the Chilean authorities seized, were gold bars weighting five kilos each, three gold sheets of almost half a kilo each, six platinum foils and 32 platinum coins. (Photo: PDI Chile/X, License)

Chilean authorities delivered the first three convictions against members of an international gold smuggling network, the so-called Gold Clan (Clan del Oro), accused of trafficking gold from the Bolivian and Peruvian Amazon to the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.

The three men were found guilty of illicit association, smuggling, false export declaration, money laundering and other tax offenses, Chile’s Custom Service said Tuesday in a statement.

The prison sentences range from three to five years, and the fines can exceed US$115,000, according to Chile’s Chief Prosecutor Eduardo Baeza.

“The sentences obtained in cases of smuggling and money laundering crimes are crucial in the fight against economic, transborder delinquency, and organized crime,” Baeza said in the statement.

He added that the convictions help “dissuade future illicit behaviors and send a clear message about intolerance towards criminal phenomena that undermine the legal and financial system.”

Together with another 32 gang members, the trio was arrested in Chile in October 2021, in an operation that also seized 74 kilos of gold, a yacht, vehicles, weapons, 12 tons of explosives, as well as real estate and some platinum foil and coins.

The criminal organization, made up of local family and business clans, is believed to have exported 600 kilos of illicit gold valued at more than US$23 million from 2018 to 2021. The seized gold stood out due to its astonishing quality, boasting a purity as high as 99.5%.

Their criminal businesses, including the money laundering, according to Chilean police, were also spread to the United States and China.