Impact of US sanctions on Africa Gold Refinery, Alain Goetz, and Uganda

By Musinguzi Blanshe

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Posted on March 18, 2022 15:06

An employee holds a 1kg gold bar at AGR (African Gold Refinery) in Entebbe
An employee holds a 1kg gold bar at AGR (African Gold Refinery) in Entebbe, Uganda, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The US Treasury Department has sanctioned African Gold Refinery along with Belgian gold businessman Alain Goetz–the company proprietor who claims to have sold it – and several other companies linked to him for involvement in illicit gold trade.

Goetz and his network of companies, the US treasury department said, were involved in movement of gold valued at hundreds of millions of dollars per year from the DRC. “The illicit movement of gold provides revenue to armed groups that threaten the peace, security, and stability of the DRC,” the department said in a statement.

“More than 90 percent of DRC gold is smuggled to regional states, including Uganda and Rwanda, where it is then often refined and exported to international markets, particularly the UAE,” the department further noted.

With more than 130 active rebel groups in eastern part of DRC, many western governments, international organisations and other international actors believe the gold trade is a major factor fuelling the conflict.

Some state actors in neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Rwanda have also been accused of plundering DRC’s minerals. The International

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