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Swiss customs track $200 million worth of Russian gold import

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss customs officials said on Friday they were tracking about 3 tons of gold of Russian origin that entered Switzerland from Britain last month to monitor possible violations of economic sanctions against Russia in the aftermath of President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

The gold is worth 194 million Swiss francs ($202 million), officials said.

The Federal Office of Customs and Border Security said it constantly monitors gold imports from Russia, which it says are not banned under a series of Swiss sanctions against Moscow imposed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

However, gold exports to Russia are prohibited under sanctions imposed by Switzerland, the customs office said in a statement. Gold bars made in Russia since March 7 cannot be traded in Switzerland, but those made before can, the office said.

There are no trade restrictions in Switzerland on other forms of gold, such as jewelry or coins, from Russia, the office said.

American media Bloomberg first reported the imported Russian gold that Swiss authorities are examining.

The Swiss Association of Manufacturers and Traders in Precious Metals said on Thursday it was aware of “concerns” over last month’s decision and said none of its members – which includes the largest gold smelters in Switzerland – was behind.

The association noted that while such imports are not illegal, it “wishes to reiterate that questionable gold has no place in Switzerland and that it expects its members to act with the utmost caution and refrain from buying when in doubt”.

Switzerland has imported a total of about 270 billion Swiss francs (about $280 billion) of gold annually in recent years, according to figures from the customs office.

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Post expires at 1:43pm on Monday July 4th, 2022