Of all the aspects in the federal indictment of Senator Robert Menendez, one of the most eye-popping could be the assertion that a sizable chunk of the graft he is billed with collecting arrived in the variety of gold bars.

The indictment does not say why Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and his wife would acknowledge these kinds of bribes along with the about $550,000 in cash and luxurious vehicle that prosecutors say have been found in queries of the couple’s property and a risk-free deposit box.

Despite the fact that gold is greatly viewed as a dubious financial investment due to the fact it yields no profits, can be highly-priced to shop and shield, and carries limited-term threat, Mr. Menendez might have seen it the way some men and women do: as an asset that maintains very long-time period price and acts as a hedge in opposition to inflation and stock volatility.

William Bernstein, the author of “The Four Pillars of Investing,” reported in an job interview that the attraction of gold resonated with individuals who search for stability in case of an economic meltdown or who problem the U.S. monetary system’s underpinnings. Advertisements pitching investments in gold are a staple of some cable television and web retailers geared to the conspiracy minded.

Gold is also interesting, he extra, to all those who want to stash prosperity abroad very easily or who will need property that can journey overseas if a hasty getaway is essential. Others, he claimed, like it since it delivers a little bit of “glitter and glamour.”

“It’s bling, pure and simple,” he explained.

Some of the exact same attributes align with individuals recognized in an Intercontinental Financial Fund report posted in 2014 as producing gold and other treasured minerals “attractive to criminals.”

For instance, the report notes, this kind of minerals are “high benefit, moveable and odorless” as effectively as “compact and hence effortless to smuggle.” Gold particularly, the report claims, “is easy to soften and solid in any shape.”

Drug dealers in the United States, the report claims, have acquired gold with their gains, disguised it as common merchandise and shipped it again to suppliers in South The united states.

Cherished metals like gold, the report adds, are “negotiable throughout the world and may possibly be utilized as a kind of currency” can be “held anonymously with no a have to have for information to be kept” and can be used “to retail outlet prosperity generated by illegal activity and avoid seizure and confiscation.”

The illicit use of gold has sizeable global implications. Venezuela, under stringent global sanctions and in financial disaster immediately after decades of federal government mismanagement and corruption, income from unlawful and risky mining in a location identified as the Arco Minero. The Venezuelan federal government has been reported to have marketed hundreds of millions’ value overseas to finance its systems and pay back lenders.

If the prices from Mr. Menendez are accurate, he may perhaps have received the gold only for the reason that it was favored by two of the businessmen charged alongside him. However it wound up in his possession, he took a eager desire in its worth in October 2021, exploring on the net for the really worth of a kilogram, the indictment states.

In the course of the time period detailed by the indictment, the location price of an ounce of gold was about $1,800, prosecutors say. On Friday, according to the Entire world Gold Council, it was up to about $1,925.

Sheelagh McNeill contributed study.

By Sia