2 guilty of laundering billions in South American gold

MIAMI (AP) — Two Florida businessmen have pleaded guilty in a $3.6 billion money-laundering case involving South American gold.

The Miami Herald reports that 39-year-old Samer Barrage and 35-year-old Juan Granda admitted in federal court Tuesday that they imported illegally mined gold from Peru and other South American countries into the United States. They each face up to 10 years in prison.

Court documents show the men smuggled tainted gold between January 2013 and March 2017 for NTR Metals in Miami. The company is owned by a Dallas-based parent company, Elemetal. Neither NTR nor Elemetal has been charged in the case.

Prosecutors say the two defendants circumvented Elemetal’s anti-money laundering compliance program by buying gold from a drug trafficker, bribing Peruvian officials and falsifying paperwork.

A third defendant, 42-year-old Renato Rodriguez, is scheduled to go on trial next year.

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