Ukraine Central Bank Conned Into Swapping Its Gold For Lead Bricks

Tyler Durden's picture

Just when one thought the story of Ukraine and its (now non-existant) gold could not get any more surreal, it did.

As a reminder, it was about a month ago when we learned courtesy of an interview on Ukraine TV with the country's central bank head Valeriya Gontareva, that Ukraine's gold was virtually all gone, when she made the stunning admission that "in the vaults of the central bank there is almost no gold left. There is a small amount of gold bullion left, but it's just 1% of reserves."

That in itself would have been sufficient to explain why just a few short days later, the Netherlands shocked the world when it announced it had secretly repatriated 122 tonnes of gold from the NY Fed, and had the story of Ukraine's missing gold ended there (or even with the criminal probe launched by Ukraine whether the central bank head had abused her power and misused her office when she "intentionally committed an extremely unfavorable transaction for the gold and forex reserves of Ukraine"), it still would have been one of the most bizarre, surreal stories of 2014.

Luckily, the story just got far better, and far, far more bizarre and surreal.

As Bloomberg reports, 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."

As Bloomberg explains, the latest gold fraud involved a central bank employee passing 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.

According to additional information from RT, the central bank was actually conned into buying the gold-plated lead.

Yes lead, not even tungsten.

RT adds that the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has confirmed the theft of several kilograms of gold in the Odessa region. The cashier involved has apparently fled to Crimea, Vesti Ukraine reports. Criminal proceedings began on November 18, even though the scam apparently took place between August and October.

In other words, when Ukraine still, allegedly, had some gold left. Now it has no more gold, but at least it has some very expensive lead.

A preliminary investigation suggests the gang had someone working for them inside the bank that forged the necessary paperwork to allow the sale of the fake gold bullion. It’s also been discovered that bank staff were not regularly checked when entering or exiting the premises.

Altogether some 11 kilograms of gold worth about $420,000 are missing.

And while one can laugh at the stupidity of a central bank duped into believing gold-plated lead is the real deal, the real stunner is that according to the First Deputy Central Bank Governor Oleksandr Pysaruk, the central bank “took a principal decision that we will not buy gold any more from the population. We are making conclusions internally, including changing our procedures."

In other words, until December, the central bank would buy any gold-plated lead, or tungsten, without any authenticity tests from any member of the population, or in other words, exchanging its existing reserves, i.e., gold (which it no longer has after converting most of it into dollars), into lead.

There is a potential silver lining here in that whoever ended up getting the bulk of Ukraine's gold reserves, is now also the proud owner of a few hundreds kilograms of gold-plated lead.

One really couldn't make this up, which is perhaps the point. Better for the public to be focused on the stupidity of its central bankers, than on their criminality for selling out the people's gold (or worse, giving it away for free in exchange for political favors of the current class of US State Department muppets) to unknown buyers in exchange for a few pieces of green paper.

h/t Marco

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Pool Shark's picture



All they needed was one of these:



[Cash, Bonds, Gold,...  REAL Gold...]

JustObserving's picture

They had bought one of those from its citizens - but it was fake.

Who is gullible enough to buy lead instead of gold?  

Lead has a density of about 11.3 grams per cc
Gold has a density of about 19.3 grams per cc

Tungsten has a density of 19.3 grams per cc.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



All we know for sure is that it was Russia's fault.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

let this be a lesson to any piddling nation who thinks to benefit from running into the arms of America

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Russia swapped this shit in out in the middle of the night last year, and took the real stuff home.  

I'm lol'ing.  Good for Putin.  

Publicus's picture

And this is why paper is superior to physical.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Any idiot can put a Benjamin on the copy machine.  

What are you talking about?  

SoberOne's picture

As if I needed any more reasons to keep stacking!

TheAnalOG's picture

Fawk golds its gonna be useless.  Buy Bitcoin instead!

wee-weed up's picture

This article shows why the Fed won't allow an independent audit of the US gold reserves.

Latina Lover's picture

When it comes to corruption and theft of state assets, the Ukie government is world class. Their actions would shame african dictators.

They are so crooked that the Ukie government was forced to place 3 foreigners at the most senior levels of their government by the USSA.

There are  Ukie government officials that would steal the eyes out of your head, literally.

Latina Lover's picture

This recently in, Ukraine government accuses Russia of stealing gold from the Ukraine.

TheAnalOG's picture

feel good to eat junk.  feel good.  we work off after holidays.

knukles's picture

Betcha those guys who looted the Central Bank's vault in the dead of night and flew off with the stuff are PISSED!
Now, one more time?

Where is Ukraine's gold?

"We Ft Knoxed some Folks"

PS  Everybody should know by now that the way to test for if something is real gold or not is to drop it in a glass of water and if it drops to the bottom, it's a witch.

Clever Name's picture


That has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever read on the Hedge.

Hat tip to you, sir.

Bag Of Meat's picture

You're all having a laugh about that, but the truth is that it's devastating for the simple citizens.. A whole country destroyed and stolen..
Every country is about the same right now, USA included, you just don't know it yet . (Or you do, if you read Zerohedge)

Fish Gone Bad's picture

The gallows humor is pretty decent on ZH

John Wilmot's picture

Two Latvian look at clouds.

One see potato. Other see impossible dream.

Is same cloud.

John Wilmot's picture

One day, hear knock on door.

Man ask "Who is?"

"Is potato man, I come around to give free potato"

Man is very excite and opens door.

Is not potato man, is secret police.

John Wilmot's picture

Two Latvian look at clouds.

Whole sky is clouds.

Weather is bad.

Latvian are cold.

winchester's picture
winchester (not verified) John Wilmot Dec 23, 2014 4:40 AM



the United States preparing for the end of trading precious metals and lock the official dollar



fr link :


Road Hazard's picture

Well, if the sheep of Ukraine didin't know it was a bad idea so suck the dick of the USSA, they will soon figure it out when the bread lines start forming and their fellow citizens are starving to death. Rejoice citizens of Ukraine....  the tribe, CIA operatives and mercanaries have liberated you!!!!!! Enjoy your newfound freeDUMB!


TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


PS  Everybody should know by now that the way to test for if something is real gold or not is to drop it in a glass of water and if it drops to the bottom, it's a witch.

I've never known that test to fail.

Jendrzejczyk's picture

The most accurate test ever devised.

A "Wolf Nipple Chip" tm in your geneal direction.

swmnguy's picture

No it's not, Zippy's got it backwards.  If it floats it's a witch.  If it sinks it drowns, but at least it's exonerated of being a witch.

Road Hazard's picture

ROTFLMAO knukles..... that is some funny shit!


PT's picture

Worth repeating:  They couldn't be bothered with tungsten.  They were given LEAD.

Mind you, that lead could be reaallllllllly USEFUL!!!  They could even use it to get their gold back!

But please, once they re-model that lead, who is going to make sure they deliver it in the right direction?

fleur de lis's picture

They should keep that in mind next time Vicoria Nuland shows up with her lousy cookies.

fleur de lis's picture

Maybe the Ukranians can ask Vickie if she might have an idea who could possibly want to scam thier gold.

HowdyDoody's picture

Even better, there is a suggestion that George Soros may be joining the Ukraine government.

Handful of Dust's picture

Anyone check her Swiss bank account balances and safe deposit boxes ?  I bet we'd all be surprised.

fleur de lis's picture

Actually, Soros joining the Ukraine government would be fabulous. A dream come true. It would put him very close to the Russian border. And since the Ruskies have him on a wanted list it wouldn't be too much of a strain on the Spetsnaz to collar him and disappear him once and for all.

Soros for Ukraine President!  Soros for Ukraine President!  

weburke's picture

1% ? did someone drop a wedding band?

exonomic halfbreed's picture

to latina lover:  kind of like the USSA putting dual citizens in charge of all the important spots in the U.S. government and the central bank(seat of real power).  Where are their loyalties centered.  

JAFAH's picture

That speech where Vicki bragged about the 5 billion spent bringing democracy to the Ukraine, she was flanked on both sides of the podium by big Chevron flags. Chevron has now called it quits in Ukraine.

“Foreign investment will start to flow only if there is a healthy, predictable investment environment based on the rule of law,” said Ulrich Benterbusch, managing director at German energy agency Dena. “This includes drastic measures to reduce the endemic corruption.”


nope-1004's picture

Netherlands got their gold back, I suspect, in a bribe to STFU and stop investigating the Malaysian plane incident by .gov.  Any other plausible explanation why the Netherlands gets its gold back but Germany doesn't?


TheAnalOG's picture

got anymore good theories for we?

benb's picture

At least they used gold paint. It isn't cheap you know. Anyway if the sh@# keeps going down hill, high speed lead may be worth more than gold... for a while.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

If you have to huff paint, "da gole paint is da bes"

Trucker Glock's picture

Funny.  A Rapid City cop told me that 20 years ago.

sleigher's picture

Because the Dutch royal family is in cahoots with the English royal family stealing and then hunting and raping young children for sport?  

Germany is an occupied territory?

I think I am gonna stick with the royal bloodline thing...  yeah.

15horses1donkey's picture

The reason Netherlands gets it's gold back before Germany is that the Netherlands has less net wealth, considering gold and debt only. They are heavily indebted, and their gold reserves, if sold, still place them far behind Germany. A little spreadsheet of Total Debt - Gold Reserves = position showed Netherlands were the most bankrupt, or had the least gold to debt ratio. Moreso than any other country on the planet. I guess that gigantic walls, reclaimed land and dykes aren't cheap and have all been funded with debt, and their reserves are piddling in comparison.

Trucker Glock's picture

The reason Netherlands gets its gold back before Germany is Germany won't accept lead as a substitute.

Jorgen's picture

The secrecy of the MH17 investigation had been pre-arranged with the Netherlands even before Dutch getting (Iraqi? Libyan? Ukrainian?) gold from the U.S.:

Why Is MH17 Investigation Obsessed with Secrecy?

SWRichmond's picture

The goddamned North Korean Hackers made Putin do it!

TheAnalOG's picture

Fawk the "kill switch" they can't do shit to we.