South Africa’s most notorious money launderer is known as Mo Dollars. He cleans millions of dollars from the sale of illicit cigarettes through gold. Confidential documents expose an intricate web of shelf companies and fake invoices that hide a multi-million-dollar operation in plain sight.
When the Gold Mafia’s money laundering business outgrows its existing infrastructure, it takes over banks and government departments. Ledgers reveal the names of bank, immigration, and customs officers, and a central bank governor - all recipients of the mafia’s generous bribes.
Undercover reporters strike a deal with a competing mafia, one that’s close to the Zimbabwean government. It promises to launder $1.2 billion of dirty cash and guarantees access to executive power.
Gold Mafia, a four-part series by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit looks at how society’s obsession with gold underwrites a global shadow economy. The undercover team infiltrates the rival gangs that turn dirty cash into gold, which is then sold around the world. Through exclusive interviews with whistleblowers from within the criminal syndicates, investigators obtain the blueprints of the money laundering operations that service southern Africa’s economic and political elite. And the investigation leads to the highest offices of state.