Abu Dhabi officials have confiscated 100 tonnes ($5 billion) in gold attempting to be imported into the nation. That's one way to increase your reserve holdings by a cool 100 tonnes without disrupting the price of gold on the open market or earning the fury of the banking cabal.
Security officials have smashed a money-laundering operation by a gang who planned to smuggle nearly 100 tonnes of gold worth US$5 billion (Dh18.4bn) into the country.
The 94,410kg of gold was to be smuggled in oil tankers from an unnamed African country to a neighbouring country, where two members of the gang would receive it and arrange for it to be transported to the UAE.
The gold was to be deposited in banks and converted to cash, which would be transferred to several foreign countries.
Ministry of Interior inspectors uncovered the smuggling plot and rounded up members of the network, according to the state news agency, Wam.
Police arrested one member of the gang trying to enter the country at the Ghuwaifat checkpoint on the Saudi border carrying 10 million Saudi riyals (Dh9.8 million) hidden in a lorry.
No further details of the plot were disclosed, including the whereabouts of the gold or how many people were under arrest....
An attempt to smuggle 100 tonnes of gold was "extraordinary", said Tim Parkman, managing director of Lessons Learned, which provides training in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and workplace ethics. "I'm just shocked anything of that amount would be held in one place," he said.
Mr Al Ani speculated the gold might have come from wealthy sources in Egypt, Libya, Syria or Tunisia, seeking to move their assets to safety.
"During this time of political instability, this is the best time to smuggle money," he said.
Such a massive amount might have come from a government source, perhaps one facing international sanctions, said Justin Crump, chief executive of the UK security consultancy Sibylline, though he said it was difficult to know for sure.
"This is a pretty big deal. It suggests to me that this must be state-sponsored, based on a very casual look," he said.