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NTR Metals Manager Implicated In South American Gold Smuggling Plot - Report

Kitco News

A manager at an American metals-refining company was allegedly charged with aiding a gold smuggling network that involved illegal mines run by criminals in South America, Bloomberg reported, citing a criminal complaint.

NTR Metals manager implicated in South American gold smuggling plotCriminal organizations, such as Peruvian narco-terrorist groups, were able to launder billions of dollars through NTR Metals with this scheme, according to the media report.

The U.S. complaint, filed in Miami, incriminates Juan P. Granda and at least two other NTR Metals employees for buying billions of dollars’ worth of gold from illegal mines in Peru that reportedly practice forced labor, human trafficking, and environmental devastation, Bloomberg said.

Granda was taken into custody on Wednesday and will be making his first appearance in a Miami courtroom on Thursday, said an anonymous source, in the article.

Charges are not being brought against the company, Dallas-based NTR Metals, also known as Elemetal, in this complaint.

NTR’s dealings with Peru’s illegal gold go back as far as 2012, according to the U.S. customs records. Between 2012 and 2015, the company reportedly imported $3.6 billion worth of illegal gold. “For all of the billions of dollars’ worth shipped from Latin America to NTR in Miami, NTR sent billions of dollars in wire payments to Latin America from the United States,” Bloomberg cited HSI agent Colberd Almeida as saying in an affidavit dated March 10.

Granda is suspected of working together with two sales representatives at NTR, who were aware of the transactions with “organized crime, gold smuggling and entry of goods into the U.S. by false means and statements, illegal mining, and narcotics trafficking, all in the hopes of creating more profits for themselves and NTR,” Almeida wrote.

The three employees reportedly encouraged relationships with alleged customers, inviting them on tours to the U.S. and telling them that NTR could buy the gold quicker than other companies.

The criminal complaint also revealed parts of the encrypted group mobile chats in which Granda calls himself a “modern-day Pablo Escobar,” referring to the Colombian drug boss, who was killed in 1993. “I’m like Pablo coming to Ecuador to get the coke.”

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