Towards an international strategy to combat illicit trafficking in precious metals - A meeting at UNICRI with key stakeholders

A meeting at UNICRI with key stakeholders from governments and the private sector

Turin, 29 September 2015.

A meeting on illicit trafficking in precious metals took place in Turin from23 to 25 September. The meeting was part of a programme implemented by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)and funded by the Government of South Africa.

The initiative aims at establishing a network of key stakeholders, assessingthe degree and scale of the threat, and the legal and control systems obstacles to effective counter measures and strategies. Final objective of the programme is to promote an international strategy to counter the illicittrafficking of precious metals and combat its potential use as a source of funding for organized crime and terrorism.

The increasing phenomenon of illicit trafficking in precious metals represents a significant source of financing for organized criminalgroups that exploit loopholes in the national and international legislation and in the precious metalstrading. Precious metals have been considered as the standard for currencies and represent ideal commodities for financing criminal activities given their easy transportability and high value. The development and expansion of transportation infrastructure, banking systems and telecommunication have facilitated the involvement of organized crime in this very high profitable business. The illicit proceeds deriving from this traffic allow criminal syndicates to expand their networksand activities, generating a convergence of threats tostability, economic growthand development.

UNICRI is mandated by the Economic and Social Council’s Resolution 2013/38 to conduct a comprehensive study on the possible links between transnational organized crime, other criminal activities and illicit trafficking in precious metals. Member States are invited to support the implementation of the project by providing technical expertise in different related areas.

The involvement of relevant international and regional organisations facilitatesthe exchange of technical information and the sharing of experience as well as promoting strong international cooperation and coordination. The private sector also contributesto the programme by bringing the private companies’ perspective and responses to this matter. The meeting in Turin was attended by representatives fromthe South Africa and Russia, leading companies in the mining andrefining industry, international organizations and NGOs.

The Director of UNICRI, Ms. Cindy Smith said“The multi-billion dollar Illicit trafficking of precious metals industry gives oxygen to the expansion oforganized crime and terrorism, undermines economic and social development,and democratic institution-building. It generates pervasive corruption, trafficking of weapons, money laundering, crimes against the environment,and blatant violations of human rights,including exploitation of children and traffickingof migrants. Much more needs to be done to raise awareness, enhance cooperation and improve the regulatory framework. We are confident this initiative, based on transnational cooperation, will contribute to the designing and implementation of effectivestrategies and actions.

”For further information, please contact: Marina Mazzini, UNICRI Public Information, E-Mail: mazzini@unicri.it; Tel: +39 011 6537141