A VERY complicated scam which saw a turnover of more than €50 million and profits of €1.5 million has been unravelled by officers from the Guardia Civil working closely with the National Police in Madrid.
On the face of things, ‘high street’ dealers in gold have to make significant payments to individuals selling scrap gold and using this as an excuse, a number were asking their banks to supply them with €500 notes.
Rather than use them to purchase gold, they were actually supplying the high value notes to drug cartels in exchange for smaller denominations and charging a percentage of the transaction for their service.
The investigating officers discovered that in just two years, banks had supplied notes to the value of €50,484,000 to these dealers and on the assumption that they charged just three per cent commission, they will between them have made a profit of €1.5 million which they then used in their companies to purchase gold and jewellery for scrapping.
Once the drug traffickers had possession of the ‘clean’ €500 notes, they were then passed to airline flight attendants travelling on routes from Spain to Colombia who smuggled the money into that country.
Now, a total of 26 people including gold dealers and flight attendants have been arrested following this detailed investigation.