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Dubai’s commodities exchange rejected claims it doesn’t do enough to regulate its gold business, while the United Arab Emirates government announced new guidelines for trading the metal.

Allegations from foreign regulators, refineries and non-governmental organizations are “lies" and “nationally-targeted insults," the chief executive officer of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Ahmed bin Sulayem, said Thursday at a conference in the emirate. They are “consistent and unsubstantiated attacks" on Dubai, he said.

Bin Sulayem’s comments come as concerns mount about Dubai’s role in the illicit gold business. Critics say regulatory loopholes allow bullion used for money laundering and smuggled out of war zones to trade there.

Switzerland has told its gold refiners to do more to identify the origin of bullion arriving from the UAE. The London Bullion Market Association last year threatened to blacklist countries that didn’t meet its standards, a move targeted at Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, Bloomberg reported.

UAE officials have said critics feel threatened by the country’s success in building a gold industry.

New Standards

Shortly after bin Sulayem spoke, a UAE minister said Dubai’s gold-refining standards would be expanded across the country, albeit on a voluntary basis.

The UAE will begin to use a ‘Good Delivery Standard’ for gold to bring its practices closer to those used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said the minister of state for foreign trade, Thani Al Zeyoudi.

The government will soon launch a publicly-accessible system for monitoring imports and exports of gold, he added.

Dubai’s the destination for 95% of gold originating from east and central Africa, according to data from the United Nations, which says the regions face a high-risk of smuggling.

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