OTTAWA – The Royal Canadian Mint says a phoney gold bar sold to a jeweller by an Ottawa bank may have looked like the real thing, but it was actually a counterfeit.
Spokesman Alex Reeves says the small gold wafer wasn’t made or sold by the Mint, although it was made to look like the real thing.
RBC is investigating how the fake bullion came to be sold.
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The jeweller who bought the bar told a news outlet that his goldsmith knew something was wrong when he tried to put the wafer through a mill and found it was much too hard and brittle to be gold.
Reeves says the Mint does not sell bullion direct to the public.
The Mint sells bullion guaranteed to be 99.99 per cent pure.
“It is a copy of a Royal Canadian Mint bullion bar,” Reeves said.
“We know that its purity is not four nines, its weight is not four nines,” he said. “The packaging has errors on it, so we knew right away that there were several things wrong with it. It could not possibly come from the Royal Canadian Mint.”
He said it’s rare for such a counterfeit to turn up.
“This is not widespread; this is a very isolated case,” Reeves said. “It didn’t come from the Mint, it’s not one of our bars. It imitates one of our bars, but that’s the extent of it unfortunately.”
It is up to the bank to investigate the problem, he said.