Scotiabank to offload gold trading unit

The Bank of Nova Scotia, A.K.A. Scotiabank, is offloading its gold business in the wake of a massive money laundering scandal involving smuggled gold from South America by one of its clients.

The Canadian lender’s ScotiaMocatta business is one of London's main gold trading banks and, according to Financial Times, had among its clients a US refinery accused in March of money laundering using “billions of dollars of criminally derived gold” mostly from Peru.

Moves comes on the heels of massive money laundering scandal involving smuggled gold from South America by one of the bank's clients.

Court documents filed in Florida claim that workers at a subsidiary of Elemetal, a precious metals refinery in Dallas, “knowingly conspired to purchase gold with the intent to promote the carrying on of organized criminal activity, including illegal gold mining, gold smuggling and the entry of goods into the US by false means and statements to US Customs, and narcotics trafficking,” FT reported.

Elemental’s unit, NTR Metals, is said to have imported more than $3.6 billions of gold from Latin America between 2012 and 2015.

Chinese buyers are rumoured to be the key targets of the Scotiabank sale, which is being led by JPMorgan.

Scotiabank (TSX, NYSE: BNS) is Canada's international bank and a leading financial services provider in North AmericaLatin America and Asia-Pacific, with more than 24 million customers and 88,000 employees.