One of Colombia’s most prominent gold exporters, Goldex, is under investigation for money laundering, newspaper El Tiempo reported Tuesday.
The company reportedly is one of the country’s top ten exporters of gold to the United States.
According to El Tiempo, two Goldex directors, Gabriel Jaime Vasquez and Jhon Uber Hernandez, have already been heard by the Prosecutor General’s Office over their alleged involvement in the laundering of money for unspecified illegal armed groups.
The defense attorney of the Goldex bosses said that his clients offered to be heard over the alleged money laundering activities and that they are clarifying where the exported gold comes from.
Prosecutors suspect the company of adding illegally mined gold to legally extracted minerals and thus help finance the illegal businesses of rebels and neo-paramilitaries.
An anonymous source within the Colombian police told the newspaper that Goldex is not the only gold exporter investigated for illegal activities.
“We are investigating six companies that are suspicious and could be linked to crimes like money laundering and illicit enrichment,” the source told the newspaper.
Colombia’s mineral extraction industry have long been tied to criminal activity, mostly by rebel groups that have been active in the country since the 1960s and organizations that emerged from the now-demobilized paramilitary organization AUC.