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Treasury official points finger at Turkey over Venezuelan gold trade

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Lucas Robinson
Medill News Service
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

WASHINGTON -- The United States should publicize Turkey's involvement in the Venezuelan gold industry, a Treasury Department official said today.

Marshall Billingslea, assistant secretary for terrorist financing at Treasury, said at a Brookings Institution event that the Turkish government has skirted international sanctions by purchasing tons of Venezuelan gold in recent months.

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"These are not your typical gold mines," Billingslea said. "We're approaching a similar kind of 'blood diamond' situation here with the gold in Venezuela."

Billingslea criticized the government for driving out private mining companies and said the country's mines operate outside of environmental and customs regulation. The mines, according to Billingslea, are a "wholesale" environmental disaster, leading to deforestation as well as disease through mercury contamination of water supplies. ...

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