So Russian gold is being re-refined in UAE and so getting past the sanctions. London Bullion Market acts like the LME, accrediting producers for “good delivery” bars.
It cannot be imported into the UK as bars because it lacks LBMA certification,
Nonsense. You can’t sell it as a good delivery bar because it’s not a good delivery bar. But you can import it, sure. You’ll end up selling it at a discount to a refiner – who will do locally what is being done in the UAE. It’s not all that difficult either – recall, the Brinks-Mat folk did this in a shed at the bottom of the garden. It loses a few percent in value by this thing being done. But it is only that few percent too. Because the conversion of pure gold scrap (what you have to sell a non-good delivery bar as) into a good delivery bar costs a couple of percent of the gold value. Therefore that’s the discount.
Add or subtract whatever you want for it being illegal gold dodging sanctions of course. But the process? Easy enough to do. If Russia were willing to accept something outrageous – 20% say – as a disount they could sell all the gold they want around sanctions.