Gold refinery agrees to $15M fine after money laundering

MIAMI (AP) -- A Texas gold refinery has agreed to be fined $15 million after three former employees were convicted in a $3.6 billion money-laundering case involving South American gold.

Dallas-based Elemetal LLC pleaded guilty in Miami federal court Friday to one count of failure to maintain an adequate anti-money-laundering program. A judge must still approve the plea agreement.

Samer Barrage, Renato Rodriguez and Juan Granda pleaded guilty last year to importing illegally mined gold from Peru and other South American countries into the United States.

Court documents show the men smuggled tainted gold between January 2013 and March 2017 for an Elemetal subsidiary, NTR Metals, in Miami. Prosecutors say the men circumvented Elemetal's anti-money-laundering compliance program by buying gold from a drug trafficker, bribing Peruvian officials and falsifying paperwork.

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