There\’s this great headline in The Times:
Zimbabwe\’s vice-president foiled in 3,600kg gold deal
The way they\’ve understood the story is that this is a scam whereby this Zimbabwean politician is trying to breach the sanctions upon them by selling off this gold.
Joyce Mujuru used her daughter as a go-between to seek a deal for the gold, according to Firstar, a commodities trader based in Britain, which says that it was approached in November.
Mrs Mujuru, appointed by Robert Mugabe five years ago, is among the 200 Zimbabweans under European Union and United States sanctions for alleged human rights abuses.
Firstar claims that Mrs Mujuru’s daughter and Spanish son-in-law, Nyasha and Pedro del Campo, offered to sell 3,700kg of gold for $90 million to Firstar Europe Ltd, a precious metal dealer. At the present market rate, one kilo of gold sells for $30,700 (£21,500).
Hmm, at current prices that\’s a $23 million or so profit. Interesting, no? So the reaction?
Bernd Hagamann, the president of Firstar, told The Times: “Our investigations showed who was really involved in the deal — Mrs Mujuru — who is on our blacklist. So we refused.”
Mr Hagamann said that when he told Mrs del Campo that he would not buy “blood gold” she offered to change the certificate of origin to Kenya.
“We have no interest in buying gold from people running a country where people are dying of cholera or from Congo, where the money from any deal would be used to buy arms to kill more people,” he said. “This is bloody gold. These people are criminals.”
Well, no, I don\’t think that\’s actually quite right. I think the secret is here:
Firstar posted the e-mail correspondence and documents concerning the deal on its website, saying that it wished to deter other blacklisted buyers. The documents included photographs of the gold nuggets and one of 13 diamonds ranging from one to five carats. E-mails between Mrs del Campo and Firstar detailed how the gold would be transported from Nairobi to Zurich once Firstar had paid $100,000 for transportation costs.
No. This isn\’t an attempt to sell "blood gold" at below market price. This is an advance fee fraud. A 419.
This is a scam to get the $100,000 by offering the $23 million profit.
Nice try by Firstar to claim the moral high ground though.