Alistair Mathias, the man who smuggles $40 million worth of gold out of Ghana every month
Alistair Mathias, the man who smuggles $40 million worth of gold out of Ghana every month Al Jazeera, last week, released the first episode of a four-part investigative series on the smuggling of gold in Africa.
The episode exposes the men and women behind the crime in various parts of Africa and among them is one who admitted to smuggling $480million worth of gold from Ghana annually. His name is Alistair Mathias.
Alistair Mathias, a Canadian national based in Dubai, is reported to help people launder money all over the world, using a web of companies and refineries to ensure his operation is successful. His clients span from Russians to African politicians.
He is said to be the partner of Ewan Macmillan, another alleged mafia exposed in the series.
During his meeting with Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters, Mathias said aside Ghana, he moves gold worth between $70million and $80million from Zimbabwe monthly. South Africa was also on his list.
According to Al Jazeera, “When asked for a formal comment about the findings of Al Jazeera’s investigation, Mathias denied that he designed mechanisms to launder money and said that he had not laundered money or traded illegal gold for Russian clients or anyone else. He told us he had never had any working relationship with Macmillan.”
Alistair Mathias accused of duping Ghanaian businessman
This isn’t the first time Alistair Marthias’ name is being tagged with crime, in 2014, he was accused swindling a Ghanaian businessman of over $4million in a gold trade.
According to the businessman, Henry Osei, he opened a branch of his company in Dubai and gave Mathias the role of clearing and forwarding gold shipments to the refinery in Dubai as well as receiving proceeds for transfer to the Ghanaian company back home in Accra, since the latter was a resident of UAE.
He said things run smoothly at the beginning of the partnership but in December 2013 and March 2014, Mathias failed to transfer proceeds of $4million to Ghana though checks had revealed the refinery in Dubai had paid him for the sale of gold.
“After all my efforts to retrieve my money back proved futile, it left me no choice than to file a criminal case against him for his arrest. Mr Matthias was subsequently arrested when he came to Ghana and was granted bail in less than an hour at the Police Headquarters. As I speak the man has travelled back to Dubai,” Mr Osei noted in a Dubai court.
Though Alistair pleaded not guilty to the charge of misappropriating the said amount, the court judged in favour of the complainant.
Alistair’s account of partnership
Alistair Mathias said he came to Ghana in 2009/10 in search for investment opportunities and settled on mining.
He acquired a concession in the Eastern Region after registering his company, M.A. Resources Ltd. in 2010 and in 2011, he met Henry Osei and his business partner.
They were both directors and shareholders of Guldrest Resources Company Limited, a local company involved in gold business with a vast network across the country.
According to Alistair, he started financing his new business partners to buy gold for his company in UAE, Mathias Holding and things went well until Guldrest Resources lost huge amounts of money in 2012/13 due to a sharp decline in gold prices.
To help Henry Osei out of his dilemma, Alistair said he formed a company with the Ghanaian in UAE, Guldrest Resources FZC.
He was therefore surprised to find out Mr Osei lodged a complaint with Ghana’s Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police, accusing him of defrauding him (Osei) to the tune of four million dollars.
Though he was in Dubai at the time the complaint was filed, Alistair said he “immediately flew to Ghana to respond to the rather baseless claims made against me by a man whose company was owing me large amounts of money.”
While this was happening, Henry Osei also went to UAE to make a similar complaint to the police.
“According to court documents, Henry’s claims to the police were that as manager of Guldrest Resources FZC, Alistair could not account for $4,054,024.10 out of a total transaction volume of $83,927,240.10 by way of…failing to send the value of the gold sent thereto…’,” a report on myjoyonline.com stated.
In his absence, the Sharjah Public Prosecution went to court, after preparing a docket, seeking to try Alistair in absentia.
After failed attempts to prevent him from flying outside Ghana, Alistair said he arrived in Dubai a few days before judgment was going to be passed on him, without knowing that was even happening.
According to myjoyonline.com, “Sharjah Court of Misdemeanour reviewed the case, in the presence of the appellant (Alistair) along with his [legal] representative, as well as the [legal] representative of the claimant (Henry) and upon asking about the charge levelled against him, he denied the accusation.”
The report further mentioned that “according to the court, Henry submitted an expert accounts report prepared by an “expert consultant.” The lower court itself appointed an accounting expert who concluded Alistair owed $3,638,504.24.
“The Court of Appeal further stated that Alistair, raised “objections on the appointed expert report before the lower court because the expert relied on documents that were not translated and the expert did not seek the support of an expert in minerals specialized in gold.”
Alistair who wasn’t satisfied with the lower court’s ruling filed an appeal at the UAE Court of Appeal and there, the case against him was dismissed.
According to the court enough evidence had been provided to prove that Alistair Mathias was totally innocent of the charges brought against him by the country’s public prosecutors.
The court also ruled that Henry Osei rather owed Alistair more than USD $9.2 million.
“The three-member panel held that Mr Henry Osei’s complaint which formed the basis for the charges against Mr Mathias was founded on contradictory, unproven and unsubstantiated claims.
“The Sharjah Second Penal Court of Appeal consequently ruled that “the misappropriation crime levelled against [Alistair] [are] totally void and there is no proof or even indication that [he] committed such a crime…”
“The court found, that contrary to claims by the Ghanaian, Henry Osei, that his estranged business partner owed him $4 million, Mr Osei’s Guldrest Resources Ghana Company Ltd., rather owes Mr Mathias about $9.2 million,” myjoyonline.com reported.