UK’s NCA to keep ‘dirty gold’ moved through Cayman

| 21/03/2023 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service
Gold found at Heathrow Airport (Photo courtesy NCA)

(CNS): Over 100kg of gold worth an estimated £4 million that was moved through the Cayman Islands in 2019 has been claimed by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA). The collection of gold bars was destined for Switzerland via Heathrow after it left Cayman in two shipments that had arrived here on a private jet from Venezuela. The British law enforcement authority said the gold was the proceeds of drug crime, but when the suspected smugglers were tried here, they were all acquitted.

Daniel Alberto Aguilar Ferriozi, Antonio Di Ventura Herrera, Pedro Jose Benavidez Natera, Juan Carlos Gonzales Infante and local gold broker Kody Zander were accused of various offences, including money laundering and conspiracy to conceal criminal property. The case was prosecuted by UK attorney James Hines KC on the basis that the $6 million worth of ‘dirty gold’ was derived from crime, but the crown was unable to say what that crime was.

However, the UK NCA believe that the trail of false paperwork showing that the gold came from the Dominican Republic when it actually came from Venezuela and the gang’s alleged connection to a Colombian cartel indicated that it was drug money. In London on Monday, a high court judge ordered that the agency could take the gold on the basis that it was the proceeds of crime, regardless of the men’s acquittal by a Cayman jury after a trial lasting almost three months.

The NCA was given a civil recovery order for over 80% of the gold under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The remaining 20% will be returned to companies with a ‘financial interest’ in the gold, the NCA said in a press release but did not identify those companies.

Andy Noyes, NCA branch commander, said criminals use gold as a way of moving drugs money due to the high value contained in relatively small amounts.

“Our investigation showed this shipment was linked to drug cartels operating out of South America, but we were able to stop it reaching its final destination thanks to established links with overseas partners. This intervention has disrupted the criminal network, stopping them from reinvesting in further criminality that causes harm to our communities,” he said.

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why not create a regulatory body for gold and shut down all these cash for gold places here. There are a lot of them. None of them reporting CIMA.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A pirate is always a pirate -ship ahoy!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands needs a complete overhaul of the Attorney General’s Chambers and it’s prosecuting arm the DPP. Appointment of a new, well qualified and experienced Attorney General is vital to cleaning up the mess of cases being lost by the Crown.Time for change from the buddy system or because of who might be married to a Caymanian. Cayman Islands step up and stop accepting mediocrity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes! We should hire a good English King’s Council! Like the one that … oh, wait, you say that’s who lost the case in the first place? … Maybe its not a racial thing pre-determining whether people can be competent lawyers or not?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thst gold belongs to us! you realise how many low income houses the PACT could have built with that.

        • Anonymous says:

          Next thing they will be harvesting our copper in the hot tunnels in the drop off George Town. Some years ago a British warship was out there investigating. Leave our copper alone. It is constantly increasing so might be worth more than the gold bars. Just saying!

        • Anonymous says:

          You mean how many CUC bills it could have paid!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The plane is still here at the airport. Will CBC have to foot the bill for that too? It is no longer airworthy and likely to be written off.

  5. Anonymous says:

    CIMA/RCIPS/CBC/AG… why have no heads rolled for this? Was this not an absolute layup for a financial crime prosecution? Who dropped the ball and why haven’t they been fired? Is it incompetence or corruption?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Another example of Cayman’s inability to successfully prosecute financial crimes which keeps Cayman on the FATF grey list

  7. Anonymous says:

    Damn colonizers still stealing peoples gold!

  8. Anonymous says:

    😂😂😂 Another day of glory by the CIG CBC and ODPP. How can customs let 104 kg of illigal gold just pass through our little airport.

    FATF just need to sit on there hands The Cayman Islands just keep on giving them the ammunition they need.
    We are so inept and why did the prosecution fail.

    It is now time for a full independent review by an outside body of our investigations and prosecution failures in money laundering investigations as something is certainly going wrong with all the thousands also being spent on overseas counsel.

    Ps maybe an FOI and ask the ODPP/CIG why there is no asset sharing no or was it just not thought of.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who are the companies with a 20% interest in drug cartel gold?

  10. Anonymous says:

    How come Cayman doesn’t get to keep it? We should at least ask.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The fact the that cayman government let it go out of Cayman says it all… jokers.

    • Anonymous says:

      White collar brokers and facilitators going free is why we can’t shake the FATF money laundering grey lists. Probably has a PR application in by now.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.