Money Laundering Tricks Include Gold Bar Imports and Forex Purchase: Mahfud
Jakarta. Gold bar imports and exchanging national currencies are the common trick in money laundering, Chief Security Minister Mohammad Mahfud MD told lawmakers on Wednesday evening as he detailed allegations that Finance Ministry officials and outsiders have laundered a staggering Rp 349 trillion ($23 billion) of money over more than a decade.
During the much-awaited hearing with the House of Representatives committee on legal affairs, Mahfud said gold bar imports have been falsely labeled as the imports of raw gold by the ministry’s Customs and Excise Directorate.
The customs office argued that the imported gold granules were further processed into cast bars in East Java, Mahfud said.
“The imports actually contained those expensive gold bars but customs documents labeled them as raw gold,” the minister said.
“We checked if there’s the [cast] factory in Surabaya and found none.”
The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, or PPATK, have submitted analysis reports about the fraudulent gold imports to the Finance Ministry’s customs and excise director general and inspectorate general since 2017 but apparently, they didn’t pass the information to their boss.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati learned about the gold bar imports only during a meeting with the PPATK earlier this month.
Ill-gotten money is laundered by purchasing dollars in Singapore under the pretext of winning the money at a casino, which is legal in the neighboring country, Mahfud said.
“The money was taken back to Indonesia legally. The truth is the money originally belonged to the state but was stolen and laundered,” Mahfud said.
Criminals often exchanged suitcases containing money inside an airplane cabin, he added.
“One person carried a suitcase containing papers, another had a suitcase full of money and they exchanged them inside the plane cabin. This happens frequently,” Mahfud said.