Unswayed by the release of a damaging ABC report, investors have remained resolute in their trade of gold via Perth Mint, as confirmed by the mint’s chairman. This Australian government-owned establishment emerged under the harsh glare of the media spotlight in March when the report disclosed issues with the mint’s compliance with anti-money laundering laws encouraged by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
Equally concerning were the revelations that several gold bars that Perth Mint had intended to sell at the Shanghai Gold Exchange were rejected due to an insufficient gold purity threshold. The consequent attraction of a Senate inquiry in July paved the way for a public hearing in Perth.
As the only government-owned and guaranteed precious metals establishment, the Perth Mint plays a significant role in the world of gold. Sam Walsh, Perth Mint Chair, presented to the inquiry asserting that the most tangible measure of the mint’s robust international reputation lay in the fact that business had escalated despite intensive media exposure.
Walsh stated that, while there were variances in economic trends, leading to fluctuations in the demand for Perth Mint’s gold, the company’s proactive efforts to ameliorate any issues were acknowledged. The impact of the external world economy and the interconnectedness of the commodity business contributed to a slowing demand for coins balanced against an increase in gold price, attributed to global uncertainly.
Specifically, the mint’s trade of gold dore, boasting bars majorly comprising gold, with a dash of silver and other alloys, maintained stability despite the unflatteringly revealing Four Corners report. Unsurprisingly, since Perth accommodates a mammoth 80% of Australia’s gold dore intake.
Addressing the criticism on the mint’s lapse in reporting some transactions to Austrac, Walsh assured that reporting procedures have much improved, with the Western Australian Auditor-General having duly acknowledged the same.
Subsequently, Auditor-General Caroline Spencer observed that whilst the mint’s adventurism into new markets, products and customers failed to accommodate the associated risks, it had significantly improved its financial health compared to five years ago. She highlighted the need for the mint’s operational momentum to keep pace with the evolving regulatory obligations and growing compliance expectations.
Amongst others, the Four Corners report spotlighted an episode where Dayne Brajkovich, a notorious ex-bikie, was allowed to purchase gold worth $27,000 from the mint’s gift shop with just a driving license for identification. Clearly contradicting Austrac rules which mandate rigorous examination of customer’s information to forestall the use of gold in abetting terrorism or money laundering.