GOLD MAFIA | Episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit infiltrates the rival gangs that control Africa’s gold. Undercover reporters witness how criminal networks turn dirty cash into gold, which is sold around the world. The investigation leads to the highest offices of state in southern Africa.
Gold Mafia looks at how society’s obsession with gold through the ages now underwrites a global shadow economy, which often operates with the complicity of global financial institutions, regulators and governments in the criminality.
Through thousands of confidential documents and exclusive interviews with whistleblowers from within the criminal underworld, investigators obtain the blueprints of billion-dollar money laundering operations that service the political elite.
Undercover reporters pose as criminals with over a billion dollars of dirty money that needs to be cleaned. The team is led by a fictitious Mr Stanley, who presented himself as a Chinese gangster with links to the Triads. His undercover reporters befriend members of rival gold mafia gangs.
The Gold Mafia investigation includes a four-part series, first released on March 23, with later episodes available on March 30, April 6 and 13.
The first episode has been described as ‘explosive’, ‘extraordinary reporting’ and ‘amazing’. Episode 2, called Smoke & Mirrors, reveals how a South African gold mafia launders money from the sale of illicit cigarettes using Zimbabwean gold.
The gang teams up with South Africa’s most notorious money launderer known as Mo Dollars. The investigation reveals in detail how the money is washed.
Thousands of confidential documents expose how an intricate web of shelf companies and fake invoices hide the multi-million-dollar money laundering operation in plain sight. And as the gold mafia’s money laundering business outgrows its existing infrastructure, they take over banks and government departments.
Their ledgers reveal the names of strategically placed individuals - bank, immigration, and customs officers, and even a central bank governor. These are powerful relationships secured by generous bribes.
This episode also includes further evidence of how individuals close to the Zimbabwean leadership plan to launder $1.2 billion of dirty cash using ‘executive power’.