MEDELLIN, Colombia — A British firm paid nearly $12 million at auction for gold formerly owned by a Colombian guerrilla group.
The unprecedented auction took place Dec. 15 in the city of Medellin, Colombia, and was organized by the Special Assets Corporation (SAE) in coordination with the Presidential Council for Stabilization and Consolidation Directorate.
SAE auctioning off a little over 458 pounds of gold.
All proceeds will be given as reparations to the families of victims who suffered at the hands of the now-disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The British investment firm Condor Partners bought the gold, which once belonged to the guerrilla group. Formed in 1964, it was infamous for its terrorist activities, kidnappings, drug-trafficking, and use of military-style tactics.
FARC gave a portion of its gold to the United Nations shortly after it ceased operations. Other assets were seized by authorities during various operations. The gold was kept at the Central Bank of Colombia in Bogota, the capital, where it was weighed and its purity verified.
Several companies from various countries took part in the auction.
The Colombian government also seized just over 24 pounds of gold from FARC, which it auctioned. The funds will be handled by the Ministry of Finance, with 50% distributed to the national government, 25% to prosecutors and 25% to the judicial system.
The disbanded guerrilla movement handed in its weapons to the United Nations in June 2017. However, there are still dissidents who continue to carry out its ideology.
(Edited by Fern Siegel and Carlin Becker)