Major gold smuggling ring exposed at TIA: Rs 100 billion operation uncovered

KATHMANDU: On July 17 last year, a significant smuggling operation was uncovered at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, when authorities seized 60.716 kg of gold. This seizure has since led to the revelation of a much larger smuggling network, with an estimated turnover of approximately Rs 100 billion, according to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of the Nepal Police.

The CIB’s ongoing investigation has unearthed evidence of substantial financial transactions linked to the smuggling ring. Detailed vouchers and financial records show that the gang paid Rs 95 billion for their operations, with additional funds being transferred through illegal channels.

Notably, two digital payment gateways, Paywell and Sajilo-Pay, were heavily utilized in these transactions. The investigation disclosed that a staggering Rs 124 billion was transacted overall, with Rs 87.17 billion processed through Paywell and Rs 36.94 billion through Sajilo-Pay.

A significant portion of these transactions, approximately 90%, was intended for gold smuggling. Specifically, Rs 111 billion of the total amount transacted through these gateways was directly related to gold smuggling activities. This intricate financial web also involved several Chinese nationals, indicating an international dimension to the smuggling network.

The CIB’s meticulous work has led to the arrest of 20 suspects so far, as part of their supplementary investigation into the smuggling operation. During these investigations, a variety of electronic devices were confiscated, including smart watches, mobile phones, brake shoes, rolling pipes, spray machines, water pumps, and shaving machines.

Among these, smart watches were the most frequently seized item, suggesting their possible use in coordinating and executing the smuggling activities.

The Nepal Police have indicated that the CIB will soon hold a press conference to provide more details about the investigation and its findings. This case has highlighted the sophisticated methods employed by smuggling networks and the significant financial resources at their disposal.

The unveiling of this operation underscores the ongoing challenges faced by authorities in curbing smuggling activities and the importance of international cooperation in addressing such transnational crimes.

The detailed investigation and subsequent arrests serve as a reminder of the vigilance required to combat smuggling and the illicit trade that accompanies it. The upcoming press conference by the CIB is expected to shed more light on the extent of the smuggling operation and the steps being taken to dismantle the network involved.

Fiscal Nepal |
Monday July 1, 2024, 05:01:39 PM |

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