South African bank employees have been implicated in a multi-million dollar gold smuggling operation, according to an investigative report by Al Jazeera. The report, titled “Gold Mafia,” reveals how organized crime gangs smuggle gold from Zimbabwe and use it to launder large sums of money, with the help of corrupt bank employees.
The investigation by Al Jazeera has exposed Standard Bank, ABSA Bank, and Sasfin Bank as institutions where employees have been bribed to facilitate the laundering of millions of dollars in illicit funds. The report cites evidence that shows Mohamed Khan, a money launderer working for cigarette smuggler Simon Rudland, has been paying off bank employees to help launder the money obtained from illegal gold trafficking.
The bribes given to bank officers ranged from monthly payments to paid holidays and house renovations, the report said. Al Jazeera’s investigative team has also uncovered how the gangs use a complex network of middlemen to transport the gold across the border from Zimbabwe to South Africa.
According to the report, the gangs take advantage of the porous borders between the two countries, bribing border officials to allow the smuggled gold to enter South Africa. The gangs then use the proceeds from the sale of the gold to buy luxury goods, such as high-end cars and properties, and also to finance their criminal activities.
Al Jazeera’s investigation has revealed the scale of the problem, with millions of dollars being laundered through South African banks every year. The report has prompted calls for the authorities to take action against the banks and their employees who have been implicated in the scheme.
A spokesperson for Standard Bank said the bank is committed to maintaining high ethical standards and has launched an internal investigation into the matter. ABSA Bank and Sasfin Bank have not yet commented on the allegations.
South African authorities have said they are taking the allegations seriously and have promised to investigate the matter thoroughly. The authorities have also urged the public to come forward with any information that could help with the investigation.
The revelations by Al Jazeera have shone a light on the dark world of illegal gold trafficking and money laundering, highlighting the need for greater international cooperation to combat these criminal activities.