On 28 December, as 2021 was coming to a detailed, Bloomberg printed a curious, slanted and hypocritical article titled “Dubai can’t shake off the stain of smuggled African gold”, through which it tried to attach gold mined from varied troubled African nations to gold imports into the UAE and Dubai.
The article was curious in that it begs the query of who or what motivated Bloomberg to jot down such an concerned article (the article was prolonged at practically 2,400 phrases and used the enter of a minimum of 11 Bloomberg reporters). The article was slanted since by its very nature and crafting it got down to launch an assault on Dubai, and it might solely be seen as successful piece on the Dubai / UAE gold sector. And the article was hypocritical in that Bloomberg may have written about illicit and smuggled gold linked to LBMA and Swiss refineries, however selected to not.
Bloomberg – Over the Goal
Written within the model of an investigative piece, however on the similar time low on concrete details and supporting proof, Bloomberg’s characteristic piece claims that “interviews with authorities officers throughout Africa reveal smuggling operations that span a minimum of 9 nations and contain tons of gold spirited over borders”, however then solely manages to call and quote two African authorities officers, the Congolese Finance Minister, and the Nigerian Mines Minister (who was notably important of Dubai), whereas not mentioning authorities officers from the opposite seven nations – particularly, the 9 nations referred to had been Sudan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic and Niger.
Bloomberg goes on to say that African gold smuggling “is a explanation for worldwide concern”, quoting OECD pointers, after which loses no time in pinning the blame on Dubai:
“The U.N. and NGOs have lengthy questioned the obvious position of one of many Emirates – Dubai – in facilitating the commerce by closing its eyes to imports from doubtful sources.”
“The majority of Africa’s illegally mined gold is channeled to Dubai by means of refineries in nations like Uganda and Rwanda, or is flown there immediately in hand baggage, typically with false papers, in accordance with authorities and business officers, U.N. consultants and civil rights teams.”
Nonetheless, these NGOs and civil rights teams go unnamed by Bloomberg, aside from one reference to the NGO “The Sentry”.
Whereas within the article, Bloomberg offers Dubai / UAE an opportunity to defend itself, all the framing is a basic slur tactic of “make an accusation, contact the accused and allow them to deny it, then publish the denial”, as in “Dubai denies that it’s the central vacation spot of smuggled gold from Africa”, a tactic which really achieves the specified results of creating reputational injury for the accused.
LBMA – The Convention Organiser
Not surprisingly for a mainstream monetary media article attacking the Dubai gold business, the bullion financial institution managed and Financial institution of England linked entity, generally known as the London Bullion Market Affiliation (LBMA), makes an look, with Bloomberg reminding readers that in November 2020 the LBMA despatched a letter to all main gold centres which “threatened to bar its accredited refineries from sourcing steel from nations that didn’t meet its accountable sourcing requirements”, a transfer which was dressed up as a ‘bullion centres initative” by the LBMA however which everybody knew was a smokescreen to assault Dubai.
As a Reuters article on the time put it:
“The LBMA letter didn’t goal any centre specifically, however 4 individuals concerned in drafting it advised Reuters the gold business in Dubai within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the principle focus.“
See BullionStar article “In Delusional Push, LBMA Threatens to Blacklist Total Gold Buying and selling Centres” for a background to these occasions.
Quick ahead to now, and the Bloomberg article from 28th December 2021 informs us that:
“the LBMA has but to comply with by means of on its menace. Sakhila Mirza, its common counsel, mentioned the affiliation remains to be assessing what the UAE has finished to fight smuggling. The LMBA does see the necessity for urgency, however has to behave inside the guidelines, and “disengaging is the final step,” Mirza mentioned in an interview”.
Unusual that. Why does the LBMA, whose major position appears to be organizing digital conferences and on-line coaching, suppose that it has the suitable to threaten anybody, not to mention to threaten one of many largest gold buying and selling centres on the planet, and are available to consider it, why does the identical convention organizer primarily based in London suppose that it’s the worldwide authority on valuable metals?
One new piece of knowledge offered in Bloomberg’s 28 December article which provides one other dimension to the combination is that the US Treasury Division and it’s Workplace of International Belongings Management have now additionally appeared on the scene, with Bloomberg saying that:
“Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo mentioned considerations about gold smuggling with Emirati officers throughout a go to to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in mid-November.”
“Adeyemo famous that stronger enforcement efforts focusing on illicit finance may give the UAE a aggressive benefit within the area”
With even the heavy weight US Treasury (which works on behalf of the nationwide pursuits of the US and Wall Avenue) on the scene, may this all be to do with competitors, and a worry by gold centres comparable to London and Switzerland that the UAE / Dubai is now gaining floor?
As Bloomberg notes in its article, final November the chief chairman and CEO of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Ahmed Sultan Bin Sulayem, referred to “constant and unsubstantiated assaults launched on Dubai by different buying and selling facilities and establishments”, probably the most outstanding of which [at that time] had been the November 2020 LBMA menace to which “Bin Sulayem issued a rebuke on behalf of Dubai accusing the affiliation of making an attempt to undermine the UAE’s gold market”, and the October 2021 warning from Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Financial Affairs (SECO) to its gold refineries to identification the nation origin of gold popping out of the UAE, to which Bin Sulayem responded “accusing the Swiss authorities of hypocrisy”. See right here additionally for a background to the Swiss SECO intervention in opposition to the UAE.
So, at this juncture you may ask, does Ahmed Sultan Bin Sulayem have a view on this newest Bloomberg “Dubai can’t shake off the stain of smuggled African gold” article, and has Bin Sulayem issued a rebuttal or response?
The Response from Bin Sulayem
As a matter of truth, sure. The truth is, DMCC’s Bin Sulayem has simply responded to Bloomberg on 3 February, and in an identical model of his earlier responses to each the LBMA and the Swiss SECO, this newest response to Bloomberg is within the type of a weblog article and is posted on LinkedIn.
Bin Sulayem’s response to Bloomberg is titled “Controlling the Narrative – The immoral trinity of weak governance, massive enterprise, and the mainstream media”, and makes intriguing studying.
Noting that the Bloomberg article “references interviews with non-specified authorities officers throughout Africa” however that “the one two African ministers named and quoted within the article had been Congolese Finance Minister, Nicolas Kazadi and Nigerian Mines Minister, Olamilekan Adegbite”, Bin Sulayem notes that the suggestion from Nigeria’s Adegbite:
“that Dubai, and Dubai alone is inherently corrupt within the world gold commerce isn’t solely a slur, however typical of the distorted narrative that has been propagated by those that are most threatened.”
Bin Sulayem goes on to say “Nigeria’s in depth socioeconomic difficulties, its rating within the Corruption Perceptions Index” and “its escalating challenges with cybercrime” and notes that Adegbite even lately mentioned that the issues with Nigeria’s mining sector had been manyfold, in order that “maybe the [Nigerian] Minister would then additionally concede that Dubai isn’t the first challenge in his nation’s mining provide chain.”
The DMCC chairman notes that “the UAE has repeatedly reached out to cooperate with the worldwide group to fight crime and illicit exercise, most lately by participating with organisations comparable to FATF, HMRC, the FBI and the United Nations to fight cash laundering and counter terrorism financing” and calls on the Nigerian minister to hitch Dubai in:
“supporting an outright ban on hand-carry doré gold bars along with all of us who’re critical about stemming the move of illicit gold.”
Notice that it was really the DMCC’s Ahmed Bin Sulayem who at a DMCC convention in Ghana in 2016 first known as for a world ban on hand-carry gold on flights, in order to fight gold smuggling.
Most likely most significantly, in his 3 February 2021 response to Bloomberg, Bin Sulayem then addresses one other elephant within the room, particularly, why Bloomberg by no means does investigations of or writes in regards to the gold provide chain problems with the LBMA and Swiss refineries:
“Except for its willingness to leap on the bandwagon and lambast Dubai, the Bloomberg article seems to afford different refining centres and producing nations a free move.
Allowing for the whole provide chain and quantity of bullion despatched to Europe every year, there are various different actors, parts and challenges within the gold market. Not simply Dubai.”
The DMCC’s Bin Sulayem then addresses the precise headline utilized by Bloomberg in its 28 December article, the title of which as a reminder was “Dubai can’t shake off the stain of smuggled African gold”, saying that “there are three issues which make its headline very deceptive”.
The primary deceptive facet of the Bloomberg title says Bin Sulayem is “sovereign accountability.” Why, wonders Bin Sulayem, does Bloomberg not pull up these African nations on their shortcomings:
“Whereas quite a few nations are referenced all through the article, not as soon as does it place the onus on the respective governments to higher police each their artisan mining communities and their border controls.”
And why do African governments not help his name for a complete ban readily available carry gold on flights. The second deceptive facet of the Bloomberg title, thinks Bin Sulayem, is “to what extent ought to Dubai be accountable for the African gold business’s provide chain.” The third level addresses the “credibility” of the info offered by Bloomberg. As Bin Sulayem writes:
“To ensure that the [Bloomberg] article to face up, it is very important acknowledge that the African nations in query have full, correct and dependable information – an unlikely state of affairs provided that of the 9 nations the place gold smuggling is “rampant”, 5 fall comfortably into the underside 22% of the world’s most corrupt nations.”
Bloomberg asserts in its article that in accordance with UN commerce information, there may be “a discrepancy of a minimum of $4 billion between the United Arab Emirates’ declared gold imports from Africa and what African nations say they exported to the UAE.”
If this was the case, calculates Bin Sulayem, “it might recommend that 60 tons is being illicitly smuggled, primarily by hand-carry into Dubai”.
Even Bloomberg was advised this was not doable by one of many individuals quoted in Bloomberg’s very personal article, i.e. Michael Bartlett-Vanderpuye, chairman of M&C Group International, an organization which mines and sources Ghanaian gold for a primarily UAE shopper base. In keeping with Bartlett-Vanderpuye:
“I at all times discovered it very tough to imagine that persons are really capable of convey gold to the UAE with out the documentation,” he mentioned. “After I take a look at the system on the airport, I discover it close to to unattainable.”
Upsetting the Institution – The Crux of the Problem
This then leads Bin Sulayem to use Occam’s Razor, which as a reminder will be summarized as – ignore unlikely explanations for the reason that easiest answer is sort of at all times the most effective. With this check, Bin Sulayem then goes to the guts of the matter:
“This shortly turns into a case of Occam’s Razor – is it extra possible that a few of the most corrupt and administratively under-resourced nations on the planet with little to no correct information or management over their nationwide mining efforts can convincingly establish Dubai as illicitly accepting 2.1% of the worldwide annual gold output whereas displaying little to little interest in altering the established order,
or that Dubai represents a menace to the previous UK-Swiss-based monopolies of the business and to the bureaucrats whose pockets stay comfortably lined.”
Which begs the query, why can’t Bloomberg produce information on the official gold manufacturing of every of those African nations, the breakdown between large-scale mining and artisanal, and the way a lot of this African gold is exported to different gold buying and selling centres together with the UK, Switzerland, Turkey, India and Hong Kong?
And why no point out from Bloomberg in regards to the gold from West African nations which CFA Franc members are obliged to ship to the French Treasury in Paris as a part of their situations for CFA Franc membership.
The Bloomberg Chairman
Shifting up gears, DMCC’s Bin Sulayem then offers some background on Bloomberg L.P’s present Chairman of the Board, Peter Grauer, who:
“is the previous Senior Unbiased Non-Govt Director for Glencore PLC, the Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity buying and selling and mining firm from Could 2014 – 2018, an organization whose in depth criminality throughout Africa and Asia contains tax evasion, racketeering, embargo breaches, international bribery, manipulating oil costs and cash laundering expenses.
Maybe he may have provided some perception as to how Africa’s mining provide chains really function?”
There’s, says the DMCC head, an “more and more homogenised alliance between corrupt authorities, massive tech/ massive enterprise, and the mainstream media”, an remark which its clear to see is now extra true than ever.
The worldwide gold, writes Ahmed Bin Sulayem, “deserves higher than schoolboy evaluation” and “a lower than authoritative method” from Bloomberg, as “Bloomberg can and may do higher”:
“We count on truthful competitors and welcome knowledgeable criticism, nonetheless, the topic is too necessary for vacation journalism.”
Bin Sulayem continues:
“There are a complete of 11 journalists credited with this tour de power. The editors might need finished higher to interview coverage makers from the main gold producing, or supposedly exporting nations on the continent, versus Nigeria which doesn’t even rank within the prime 15.”
“A two-colour map of Africa [in the Bloomberg article] that arbitrarily demarcates nations with a significant gold smuggling drawback with no comparisons, no information, no definitions, no numbers and no proof, but leaves Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Guinea, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mauritania, Egypt, Ethiopia and Namibia off the record?”
Bin Sulayem wraps up by referencing Peter Vanderwicken in a 1995 Harvard Enterprise Overview op-ed which was titled “Why the Information Is Not the Reality” and which was primarily based on a research known as “Information and the Tradition of Mendacity: How Journalism Actually Works”, as an instance “the corrupt and self-perpetuating relationship between the federal government and the media”, the place the media “fails to do what it claims to do, what it ought to do, and what society expects it to do.”
So there you’ve gotten it. Did Bloomberg not know that by focusing on Dubai and the UAE, it’s going up in opposition to a ‘Onerous Goal’?
The one factors I’d add are to ask why would Bloomberg determine to create this text within the first place, utilizing important sources (11 reporters)? What was Bloomberg’s motivation?
Did the request for this Bloomberg article to be produced go all the best way to the highest? Possibly even so far as the Bloomberg executives or the Bloomberg board?
Who has the facility to direct Bloomberg’s large sources to return collectively to jot down such a chunk? The Bloomberg chairman actually would.
Moreover, was there a hidden hand behind the scenes within the type of additional interventions by the LBMA bullion banks?
And why does Bloomberg by no means conduct an investigation of illicit gold flowing into LBMA refineries? And in a wider sense, why Bloomberg can commit 11 reporters to a considerable piece about Dubai gold and Africa, but by no means does an investigative piece about “gold value discovery”, in regards to the unallocated gold credit score market in London, in regards to the London gold lending market, or in regards to the gold buying and selling actions of the Financial institution for Worldwide Settlements (BIS)?
Robust questions that require powerful solutions. However matters which mainstream monetary reporters don’t appear to be they’ve the braveness to pursue.