The New Zealand government announced a ban on Russian gold imports as part of its sanctions against Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
In a statement released by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Nanaia Mahuta said she did not want her country to become a safe haven for Russian assets, adding that the ban would take effect from July 25.
“Today’s decision further signals New Zealand’s condemnation of Russia’s flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Mahuta said.
“The decision also supports international efforts to ensure that Russia does not circumvent international sanctions by using its large gold reserves to finance its illegal war,” she added.
According to New Zealand’s Trade and Exports Minister Damien O’Connor, the decision is intended to prevent the Kremlin from relying on its gold holdings to prop up the ruble, as Moscow’s financial system is already cut off from international markets.
“The Central Bank of Russia has huge gold reserves, estimated to be worth up to 140 billion dollars. Twenty percent of the reserves of the Russian Central Bank are held in gold. Under the Russia Sanctions Act, we are making it illegal for our citizens to import Russian-origin gold,” O’Connor said.
Last week, the US Treasury Department announced a ban on Russian gold imports, but the measure only applies to gold of Russian origin, not gold located outside of Russia.
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