The Mali Gold Scams
There are various gold scams coming out of Mali ranging from the sales of gold bars to mining concessions. Potential investors need to be very careful and carry out the proper due diligence with sellers, transporters and those testing the gold for purity.
- The Gold Sellers: Verifying someone’s identity over the internet is very difficult as scammers will go to great lengths to set up professional looking websites, fake LinkedIn profiles and listings on industry related directories and websites. The scammers claiming to sell gold at prices way below market use pictures and videos of gold bars from legitimate sources they have been able to access while in storage or fake gold bars they have prepared for this purpose. Those are sent to the potential buyers. The chances of the buyers receiving the actual gold are ZERO.
- The Gold Transporters: It seems many of the gold scams out of Mali maybe be set up for no other reason than to get the potential buyer to pay the transportation fees for the gold to be taken to a refinery in Europe. Of course, the fees the transportation company charges are also way below the regular rates for transporting a large amount of gold. The other issue with hiring a transportation company for say $10K to move $500K’s worth of gold bars in a 3rd world country is that if the gold is real there is a good chance it will go missing…
- The Gold Testers: The seller will offer testing to be done on the gold bars, even videoed… The testers might claim to be from a different company but are part of the scam. The gold being tested could be real but be assured it’s not owned by the seller; they just have been given access for the video test…
The end result is the buyer will be shown what appears to be legitimate paperwork, photos, and videos of gold bars, etc. but it is all a scam. After they part with their money once, twice or more the scam will continue until they actually realize it’s a scam.
The only way to perform reliable due diligence in places like Mali is to have trustworthy people on the ground who can verify that the companies, their offices, and operations are real and legitimate. Now by reliable people, I mean people who are known and can be trusted, not someone whom you met on the internet… It would not be unusual for the scammers to try to bribe any investigators tasked to looking into them. Hence you need to ensure those who are doing your due diligence are actually working in your favor.
The gold scammers in Mali will work the scam right to the end and beyond… There are cases of planes being chartered, shipping companies booked, etc. and the bought or scheduled gold shipment never arrives…
There are legitimate gold mining companies in Mali that are licensed and government regulated. As is the case in any other countries, when valuable assets leave the country, they need detailed export paperwork for customs and tax purposes. Likewise, whichever country you land in will be requiring paperwork for importing the gold and in most places, if you don’t have the right documents it will be seized, and you could possibly face criminal charges.
If quantities of gold are being offered at well below market value the chances are it’s a scam, it’s stolen or it’s conflict gold. Anyone investing in such projects, even though they are led to believe they are onto a fail-proof investment will just lose their money, in the best case scenario. Trying to repossess lost cash or even gold can be very difficult, not impossible but very difficult. If you’re considering investing or buying gold or other such assets it’s highly advisable to get the proper due diligence done on the sellers and shippers. In most of Africa, this requires someone physically checking a company’s various locations, offices and meeting with key personnel.
Below are documents from one of our due diligence cases that were used in an attempted gold scam. We would suggest the companies “Reno Group Concept Mali – SARL“, “Reno Logistical Service Mali” operated by a Mr. Salif Togo and “Gnafou and Metal – SARL” operated by a Mr. Jean-Michel Dembele be avoided as there are a lot of unanswered questions about their operations… We tried to visit their offices but for some reason, the addresses we were given don’t exist and Mr. Dembele and Mr. Togo were not too keen on discussing things….
Reno Group Concept Mali
Mr. Jean-Michel Dembele
Gnafou and Metal – SARL