Standard Bank named in Gold Mafia

Standard Bank

Standard Bank is one of the commercial banks which Gold Mafia use for money laundering and paying of illicit trading.

A comprehensive investigation by Al Jazeera Investigation Unit (I-Unit) discovered that Gold Mafias in Zimbabwe and South Africa were in control of bank operations for money laundering.

Banks listed as being complicit the money money laundering and bank fraud are Sasfin Bank, Standard Bank and ABSA.

Al Jazeera reports that the cartel controlled people working for the banks in exchange for extra monthly perks. The cartel palm-oiled, “greased”, the employees who at times included some up the hierarchy of the banks.

The employees received as little as US$800 (about 1 million Malawi Kwacha) every month to “ensure approval” which would allow payments “without any scrutiny from any banks”.

Al Jazeera alleges that Simon Rudland, a white South African who owns Gold Leaf Tobacco, is one of the Gold Mafias. Rudland is one of Africa’s business tycoons.

Episode 2

In Episode 2, Al Jazeera further alleges that Rudland uses his Gold Leaf Tobacco which manufactures Rudland & George RG cigarettes as a money “laundromat” for illicit tobacco sales.

Rudland’s ex wife told Al Jazeera investigative journalists that Rudland’s companies were able to move billions in a month through the banks without raising any red flag because bank officials at Standard Bank, ABSA were “greased”.

“You are CEO of the [Banks] without them knowing”, reveals Dawood Khan who worked with Rudland allegedly in money laundering.

“Gold Leaf Tobacco had the capability within SASFIN to move massive amounts of money; not questioned because with the respective eyes in the bank overlooking the entire process. 99 percent of all Gold Leaf Tobacco payments were money laundering project and transactions” alleged Khan.

Rudland’s operations in Malawi

The Gold Mafias also disclosed in the Episode 1 of the investigation that they also operate in Malawi through different shell companies.

Simon Rudland has business connections in Malawi via Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC) which is owned Konrad Buckle who is said to be a white South African business person. Nyasa Manufacturing is the mogul’s official distributor of his Rudland & George RG cigarette brand.

Rudland has also sponsorship stakes in FCB Nyasa Big Bullets, a subsidiary of Nyasa Manufacturing Company.

In another development, First Capital Bank (FCB), a commercial bank in Malawi recently signed a sponsorship deal with Nyasa Manufacturing Company’s Nyasa Big Bullets, hence the name change to FCB Nyasa Big Bullets.

The Pandora Papers investigation established that Hitesh Anadkat who owns FCB stashes money in tax havens.

The Gold Mafias also disclosed in the Episode 1 of the investigation that they also operate in Malawi through different shell companies.

I am innocent – Rudland

Rudland has distanced himself from the money laundering allegations, telling Al Jazeera that the allegations are part of a smear campaign from rival business moguls.

“[Rudland] denied any involvement in the sale of illicit cigarettes, in gold or other smuggling”, reported Al Jazeera.

Likewise, his company, Gold Leaf Tobacco also shutdown the allegations.

Al Jazeera says “Gold Leaf Tobacco emphatically denied any involvement, past or present, in money laundering, the trade in illegal gold or related matters”.

Sasfin said it was taking “vigorous action” against its suspended and former employees and clients of its foreign exchange unit whereas ABSA said it would investigate the allegations.

Standard Bank also operates in Malawi. The bank said it would report and assist with any legal investigation.