Recently by Mark Nestmann: Civil Forfeiture: The War on Your Wealth
An article posted a few days ago on commodityonline.com made a startling claim: the Austrian government had imposed restrictions on gold purchases.
According to the article (posted here), individuals “will be restricted to purchase only 15,000 Euros worth of gold at a time, making gold an officially ‘restricted’ commodity.” With a gold price at EUR 1190/ounce, this policy would limit investors to purchase only about 12.6 ounces of gold at a time.
If the story were true, it would be an ominous sign. It would presumably indicate the Austrian government now felt it necessary to impose currency controls to protect the value of the euro. It would also reverse longstanding Austrian policy which gives both resident and non-resident investors the right to buy and sell gold unimpeded. Nor does Austria impose value-added tax on most forms of gold.
Fortunately, the story is NOT true. I contacted several banks in Austria to find out if they knew anything about the supposedly new policy. They didn’t. As one banker remarked to me:
“Totally erroneous…you can buy as much gold as you want and gain delivery within one working day. There is no distinction made between residents and non-residents.”
There is significance, however, to the EUR 15,000 figure the article mentions. In 1991, the EU Money Laundering Directive came into force. This directive requires individuals who engage in a single transaction or linked transactions that exceed EUR 15,000 with a financial institution at which they don’t have a relationship to identify themselves. While gold purchases aren’t singled out, they’re definitely covered by this requirement. Normally, you simply present your passport when you purchase the gold, then take it with you. Cash purchases smaller than EUR 15,000 remain effectively anonymous.
There may come a time when EU governments restrict gold purchases and sales. Fortunately, that time has yet to arrive.
Reprinted with permission from The Nestmann Group, Ltd.
Mark Nestmann [send him mail] is a journalist with more than 20 years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The Sovereign Society's Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides international wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals. Mark is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member of subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business Administration.