by Ronan Manly, BullionStar:
In a move in early November which is already causing controversy, self-styled gold market authority, the bullion-bank controlled London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), issued a letter to a group of leading bullion markets around the world, threatening to blacklist gold bullion from any country that fails to meet new LBMA recommendations covering gold sourcing and supply chains, the elimination of cash transactions, and the support for artisanal and small scale mining (ASM).
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These recommendations, which have no legal standing, attempt to coerce the bullion markets into examining and verifying the supply chains of gold, while forcing co-operation with regional and international organisations.
The LBMA letter, dated 6 November, is addressed to national authorities in the following major bullion markets, markets which the LBMA refers to as International Bullion Centres (IBCs): China, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
LBMA, established and run by bullion banks and never elected by anyone to be an authority, now ups the ante in bullying international gold bullion markets – “Gold market authority threatens to blacklist UAE and other centres” | Reuters https://t.co/pa6MvTqFTr
— BullionStar (@BullionStar) November 12, 2020
Ostensibly pitched as an initiative in support of both the OECD Due Diligence Guidance on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains and the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) guidance on money laundering, the LBMA’s real agenda, as is often the case, is otherwise, with the letter and the LBMA’s recommendations taking particular aim at bullion centres in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and India.
This is clearly illustrated in a report on ‘the Letter’ from none other than the LBMA’s favorite reporting mouthpiece – Reuters, and its LBMA embedded reporter Peter Hobson, who in an ‘exclusive’ dated 12 November titled “Gold market authority threatens to blacklist UAE and other centres” says that:
“The world’s most influential gold market authority is threatening to stop bullion from countries including the United Arab Emirates entering the mainstream market if they fail to meet regulatory standards, a letter seen by Reuters showed.”
Hobson then spends a good portion of the remainder of the Reuters article discussing Dubai, revealing that drafting the letter was a team effort, and that the main reason for this LBMA smokescreen is to target Dubai:
“The LBMA letter did not target any centre in particular, but four people involved in drafting it told Reuters the gold industry in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the main focus.”
“The whole bullion centres initiative is because of serious issues in Dubai,” one of the sources said. “Unless they shape up, the LBMA by early next year will say refiners can’t source from Dubai.”
Some clues as to identities of the behind the scenes actors who influenced the writing of the LBMA letter are also provided by Reuters:
“The LBMA is a trade group rather than a state agency but it holds sway over the market because the large international banks that dominate gold trading typically only deal with metal from refineries the association has accredited.”
The UAE is one of the world’s largest gold hubs and exports bullion worth billions of dollars to refiners accredited by the LBMA each year. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental anti- money laundering monitor, has criticised its controls, as have non-governmental organsations (NGOs).
Off the bat, we can therefore say that LBMA bullion banks, the OECD’s FATF, and the politically backed so-called NGOs are part of the behind the scenes influencers.
Elsewhere in the letter to the International Bullion Centres (a letter which by the way has not been published anywhere), Reuters reveals that the LBMA has asked:
“recipients to declare their support for the LBMA’s standards by 11 December and share an action plan for their implementation by the end of January, if they have not been met.”
If this sounds eerily similar to the ”you’re either with us or against us“ bullying tactics of major political powers when forcing unaligned powers into conflict, you would be correct – it is. But it gets worse, since the letter says that:
“A lack of cooperation or unwillingness to publicly commit to these standards and share a proposed timeline with the LBMA will mean LBMA may no longer permit GDL Refiners to source material which has originated from or passed through the International Bullion Centre.”
Sounding more like a head-mistress of a girls’ school than a CEO, the LBMA Chief Executive Ruth Crowell told Reuters: “We are also committed to act if there is not meaningful and effective improvement”.