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Gems, Money Laundering and Unlawful Acts


#1
 There is an embargo on Burmese goods for a very good reason-
purchasing Burmese stones helps support a repressive,
totalitarian, even genocidal government. 

Lee,

I think you may have this wrong. I believe the gems are smuggled out
of Burma to AVOID supporting the Burmese government. If buying the
smuggled gems helps anyone it is the Karen opposition and the miners
and smugglers themselves. If anyone is supporting the government it
would be those who buy gems legally at the government auctions in
Rangoon (Yangon, as the current government would have it).

Jerry in Kodiak


#2

Jerry said-

I think you may have this wrong. I believe the gems are smuggled
out of Burma to AVOID supporting the Burmese government. If buying
the smuggled gems helps anyone it is the Karen opposition and the
miners and smugglers themselves. If anyone is supporting the
government it would be those who buy gems legally at the government
auctions in Rangoon (Yangon, as the current government would have
it). 

I do not believe that it is as simple as you suggest. According to
Richard Wise’s article, some of the gems are being smuggled by
Burmese military, and many of those smuggers who are not themselves
Burmese military are paying protection to the Burmese military in
return for safe passage. Granted, the monies realized are not going
into the official government coffers, but they are arguably
supporting the military junta.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#3

I beleive Jerry has got it right.

Being from Burma myself I can confidently say that may be a 10th of
Burmese Ruby came out of Burma legally.

The Ruby Mines in Mogok are too far from the Capital Yangon. The
goverment has no control or it is not in its interest. The road for
the smuglers passes through the Rebels let it be the Nagas or the
Karens. Everyone involved is well aware of the prices in the West.

These are individuals sitting in the Jungles with Honda Generators
watching latest DVD’s on Plasma TV’s.

You can be very patriotic and avoid buying from these dealers in
USA. What about the Jewelery that is being shown on QVC or at Wall
Mart, Kohl or many Chain Stores that are being supplied by a
manufacurer who has bought these gems overseas not knowingly.

Lapidary Journal goes by readership, advertisement & subscription. I
think Prime Media has done a wonderful job.

Kenneth Singh
karat46@aol.com


#4

As Jerry notes the situation in Burma is far from cut and dried. Gems
purchased at the annual emporium definately help the government. I
have been to Mogok and can tell you that there is a great deal of
small and large scale free market activity. There are three markets
in Mogok and surrounding towns that are totally unregulated. For
years miners have managed to smuggle gems across the Thai border at
Mai Sai and Mai Sot. There are many miners who are literally
scratching in the ground for money to feed their families. I
suspect that the embargo does nothing to stop the fat cats and hurts
some of the poor miners.

Richard
www.rwwise.com
For Information and sample chapters from my new book:


#5

All,

The discussion was not about “all” stones entering the USA. The
discussion was about expensive corundum being sold at a fraction of
thier market value at the Tucson Gem Shows. I am still trying to
track this dealer down myself as over the past three years he has
cost me over $25,000 dollars in lost sales. At Tucson over the last
three years my customers have returned to me and showed me the
stones. Stones that would cost me $9.000 to purchase as a gemdealer
where bought by my customer for under $4,000. My customer would not
tell me the dealers name. Until another dealeron ORCHID mentioned
similar conduct at the GJX show I had no leads. Now I am trying to
finish running down who this dealer is as I now have to use this new
price structure when bargaining fior my stock. Unless as I suspect
he is laundering the stones right under our noses. I have already
checked with my suppliers here and will check with other contacts in
SriLanka. So far the word is that no knows how these stones could
possibly be sold at thesae prices.

On a similar note about the Burma corundum. The USA government
through diplomatic channels has imposed an embargo against continued
trading with Burmese corundum. Anyone still trading in smuggled
stones is circumventing the diplomatic process and contributing to
the continued rise in lawlessness and terrorism. They are now a part
of the problem and are dealing in very bloody stones. Hopefully the
"Patriot Act" and US Federal Bureau of Investigation active stings at
major gemshows and jewelry trade shows will reign in this lawless
activity. At the same time it will help to level the paying field for
those of trying our best to deal honestly and within the laws of our
land.

Gerry Galarneau


#6
Gerry, I could not have said any better than you did. These
outside sellers resort to anything they can, under the sun and get
away with. 

On a similar theme, our news over here in the UK is currently
carrying warnings about buying cigarettes from street vendors and
some shops. It has been found that almost all the ones being sold by
street vendors are illegal copies made in China - almost identical
packaging to well known brands but containing tobacco which has not
been properly processed and which contains hundreds of times the
maximum legal limits of heavy metals - Cadmium, Lead etc. These
cigarettes are being made in ‘one room factories’ in China and
smuggled into Europe in huge amounts and putting peoples health at
risk.

Its the same old story, if it looks good but is cheap, you need to
ask why!

Best Wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK