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UAE to Audit All Gold Refineries After Facing Sourcing Criticism

(Bloomberg) — Gold refineries across the United Arab Emirates will be required to carry out audits that prove bullion deliveries are responsibly sourced, according to the country’s Economy Ministry.

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The auditing process will follow the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s guidelines and will become mandatory for all refiners starting February 2022, the ministry said in an emailed statement Sunday.

The move comes in the wake of accusations made against the UAE that it allows smuggled bullion from conflict zones to be flown into the country. Switzerland told its refineries to tighten up audits on imports from the Emirates in October to make sure illicit African gold isn’t involved.

Though the UAE government and Dubai’s commodities exchange have consistently rejected such claims, some of the criticism may be quelled through the introduction of refinery inspections. The London Bullion Market Association last year threatened to blacklist countries that didn’t meet its standards on responsible sourcing.

The ministry’s anti money-laundering department has carried out some audits in the fourth quarter of 2021 that follow different criteria, according to Sunday’s statement.

The UAE’s nationwide Good Delivery Standard will also start operating in February. The voluntary certification scheme will require its members — both in and outside of the UAE — to “adopt OECD guidelines in relation to the responsible sourcing of gold,” according to the statement.

The UAE’s decision to require gold audits was first reported by Reuters.

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