Swiss gold imports from Russia fall in June

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Molten gold flows from a foundry into a mold of a bar at a gold and silver refining plant and bar maker Argor-Heraeus in Mendrisio, Switzerland, July 13, 2022. REUTERS/ Denis Balibouse

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ZURICH, July 19 (Reuters) – Switzerland imported 284 kg of gold worth around $16 million from Russia in June, customs data showed on Tuesday, compared with more than 3 tonnes worth around $16 million. about $200 million in May.

The shipments have raised questions about whether Swiss companies could help fund Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which major Swiss refineries deny.

Russia is the second largest gold producer in the world and Switzerland is the largest refining center.

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The Swiss government said last month that Russian gold imported in May originated in Russia but was shipped from Britain. They said customs officers were investigating whether the imports breached the sanctions.

Britain is a gold vault and trading center and stores hundreds of tons of gold produced in Russia before it invaded Ukraine.

It is unclear how long the gold imported into Switzerland in May had been in Britain or who owned it. Swiss Customs does not share corporate names.

Britain, the United States, Japan and Canada agreed to a ban on new Russian gold imports last month and the European Commission proposed one last week. Read more

The London Bullion Market Association has meanwhile blocked trading in London of gold made in Russia after March 7, but says gold made there before then can still be traded.

“There is no place for Russian gold in Switzerland which is being used to finance war,” Robin Kolvenbach, CEO of Swiss refinery Argor Heraeus, told Reuters last week, adding that Argor had halted all trade relations with Russian counterparts after the February invasion. 24.

Valcambi, another Swiss refiner, said this month that gold could be legally imported from Russia under certain circumstances and that Russian bullion made before the war started could be found all over the world and imported legitimately.

Valcambi said it “has at no time taken delivery of gold produced in Russia after March 7, 2022.”

Kolvenbach said a gold import ban would have limits: “The basic problem with gold is that it’s like water, it always finds its way. If some states don’t buy more Russian gold, others will still take it, even more so if they can get it at a discount because it’s harder to sell.”

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Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz and Peter Hobson; Editing by Michael Shields and Bernadette Baum

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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