I like watching documentaries and docu-series and I’ve become quite a fan of “Dirty Money.” I don’t know how popular it is, but I must not be the only one that likes it because it just got a 2nd Season. It reminds me a lot of “The Smartest Guys in the Room,” about Enron. I’m also a big fan of “The Big Short” and other documentaries on the financial crisis of a decade ago like “Overdose.” In particular with “Dirty Money,” in the first season I was a big fan of the episode on Volkswagen and the one on HSBC. The one about the Canadian Maple Syrup theft was a bit… odd.
One of the episodes of the new season is called “Dirty Gold” and it talks about a more than a decade old practice of using illegal gold mining in Peru and other South American countries to launder illegal drug money smuggled down from the United States. The episode talks about the gold being bought using drug money smuggled out of the United States and then gold is imported into Miami and refined there - I never knew Miami was a hub for gold refiners.
By the end of the episode they start talking about how widespread the issue has been and list a bunch of big-name companies that are under investigation for dealing in illicit gold and that these companies make and sell blanks to… The US Mint!
They mention Elemetal, Engelhard, Johnson Matthey and others as being under investigation for looking the other way and not doing their KYC properly under the Bank Secrecy Act.
At one point in the opener of the episode they flash a shot of some American Gold Eagle coins.
As someone who loves collecting coins and collecting / owning gold and silver it’s crazy and slightly disconcerting to think about. I have my 1/4th oz AGEs for my sons’ birthyears and it’s weird to think that those might have been struck using gold that was mined by some guy in Peru getting $15 a day to run mud in a river while he’s slowly getting mercury poisoning because they’re using mercury to enhance their gold recovery, but I don’t even think these people know what proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) looks like.
I think it’s an interesting watch and I’d recommend it to anyone that has a Netflix account - fun way to kill an hour if you’re stuck at home with not much to do.
This is Day 23 of Self-Isolation for us.