Zimbabwean targeted as UK tightens sanctions on Russian metal exports

A platinum ingot after engraving at the JSC Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

THE UK tightened sanctions on gold and platinum group metal (PGM) exports from Russia including the activities of a company with links to a Zimbabwean businessman.

Bloomberg News said Howard Jon Baker were among those targeted by the sanctions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the top new destination for Russian gold since the invasion of Ukraine shifted trade routes.

Baker was linked to the beneficial owner of one of the UAE’s biggest gold refiners that lost its accreditation over concerns about money laundering, the newswire said citing people familiar with the matter. Emirates Gold has since been bought by Rockfire Resources, a London-listed mining explorer.

“We must keep tightening the screws on Moscow,” the UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement. “Today’s sanctions will hit those who have provided succor to Putin by helping him to lessen the impact of our sanctions on Russian gold and oil – two critical sources of revenue for the Russian war machine.”

Nord Gold, Highland Gold Mining and Krastsvetmet, the biggest precious metals refinery in Russia were among those sanctioned. The UK also targeted a UAE-based network that it says channeled $300m of gold sales to Russia.

Krastsvetmet, owned by the Krasnoyarsk region of Russia refined about 200 tons of gold in 2022, which is equivalent of over a half of Russian annual gold output, said Bloomberg News. It also refines silver as well as platinum and palladium for MMC Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s biggest miner.