The Current

We know about conflict diamonds, but what about conflict gold

So-called conflict minerals ... precious metals from conflict zones that somehow enter the legit market and send profits back to warzones are enough of a concern that there are international standards to try to identify and isolate them. Now a whistleblower says a key regulator isn't tough enough....
So-called conflict minerals ... precious metals from conflict zones that somehow enter the legit market and send profits back to warzones are enough of a concern that there are international standards to try to identify and isolate them. Now a whistleblower says a key regulator isn't tough enough.

One of the most shocking findings is related to 4-5 tonnes of gold, gold bars coated silver smuggled out of Morocco, arriving in Dubai declared as gold ... The fact that our final conclusion would mean in simple words the risk of conflict minerals or conflict gold entering Dubai is extremely high.Amjad Rihan, Former Ernst & Young employee

Amjad Rihan is a former partner in the international auditing firm, Ernst & Young. He audited one of the world's biggest gold refineries -- Kaloti Jewellry International out of Dubai.

Mr. Rihan left Ernst & Young -- and leaked the audit -- because he says Ernst & Young turned a "blind eye" to the fact the audit would never be published.

Amjad Rihan leaked documents to Global Witness -- a non-governmental organization that investigates links between natural resource exploitation and conflict, poverty and human rights abuses. For instance, it helped expose how diamond mining financed war and fueled corruption. Global Witness published these new documents in a damning report called City of Gold.

Annie Dunnebacke is a deputy campaign director with Global Witness. She was in London.


The Current did request interviews with Ernst & Young, as well as the Dubai Regulator, DMCC. Neither made anyone available. However, Ernst & Young did send us a statement, which reads:

We firmly believe that by identifying elements of non-compliance we played an important role for improvements in the client's supply chain controls.

We also did request an interview with Kaloti Jewellry International but got no response. However, it did publish a statement on its website stating that "these allegations are false and without any substantiation" and they "strongly deny any implication relating to regulatory non-compliance in the gold trade."


Shefa Siegel says that while there are ethical concerns surrounding the Dubai story - the story may be diverting attention from more significant ethical questions. He is a member of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and has focused on international resource ethics for more than a decade. We reached Shefa Siegel in New York City.


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This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien, Sarah Grant and Leif Zapf-Gilje.

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