Ukraine Probes Gold Swapped for Lead in Central Bank Storage

Ukraine opened a criminal probe after several gold bars at the central bank’s storage in the southern city of Odessa turned to be painted lead.

“The management of the central bank’s branch in Odessa asked us to investigate fraud by their employee,” Volodymyr Shablienko, head of the Odessa police’s press office, said by phone today. “We are conducting a forensic audit now.”

A central bank employee passed lead bars covered with golden paint to the storage unit, registering them as gold, the Vesti newspaper reported today, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the matter in Odessa’s police department.

The regulator “took a principal decision that we will not buy gold any more” from the population, First Deputy Central Bank Governor Oleksandr Pysaruk said Dec. 19. “We are making conclusions internally, including changing our procedures.”

Pysaruk said potentially 11 kilograms of gold is missing. That would have a value of about $420,000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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