My wife and I live in UK. My In-Laws are UK expats currently living in Switzerland.

They are investing some of their savings into Gold Bullion. (not interested in any assessment of that decision in & of itself)

Their preferred Bullion-selling-website only operates in the UK, and will only accept orders delivered to, and paid for from, UK addresses.

They're drip investing into the gold, buying a few thousand-£s-worth at a time.

So each time they want to invest, they do so through me. The process is:

  • They email me to check I'm happy to do another bullion purchase.
  • Transfer expected funds to me.
  • Next day, email me specific bullion purchases.
  • I place the order (i.e. after the funds have arrived with me)
  • They send over any excess from price shifts between the 2 days.
  • I receive the bullion.
  • I give them the bullion next time they come over the UK for any reason. (Family, work, etc. etc.) (Normally, 'a few months later')

Question: What risks or problems should I keep in mind?

I'm not worried about the initial payment bouncing/getting reversed. A) I'm sufficiently confident in the family relationship to be confident that won't happen. and B) Even in the worst case scenario, I would expect that to happen well before the bullion is handed back, so I'll still have the gold bullion, and can just hold and sell that.

The 2 other possible risks that I have in mind are:

  • This is actually quietly laundering money, in some not-that-exciting-but-definitely-illegal white-collar way.
  • This whole process should actually be incurring a bunch of tax, which I'm illegally failing to declare & pay.
  • This whole process should actually be incurring a bunch of import/export duty, which someone is illegally failing to declare & pay, and I might get burned from that.


  • Do either of those things seem particularly likely/possible?
  • Is there anything else that I haven't considered?
  • All three questions sound like questions for a lawyer.
    – chepner
    Dec 6 '21 at 15:15
  • Does your concern about laundering money relate solely to complying with the regulations that are designed to make money laundering hard? Dec 6 '21 at 15:24
  • 10
    It's hard to believe none of the gold dealers in Switzerland are good enough that they would be willing to use them instead of jumping through these hoops. I think you are right to be suspicious that there is another reason, maybe this is money laundering or tax evasion. Depending on where they live your relatives may be evading their wealth tax obligations. You should tell them you plan to check with the tax office to make sure you are complying with all the rules and regulations and see what your relatives say about that.
    – Eric Nolan
    Dec 6 '21 at 15:39
  • 2
    Also, having gold regularly delivered to a residence could make the residence a target of burglary.
    – S Spring
    Dec 7 '21 at 12:32
  • 1
    The delivery drivers might know the difference in the packages. Gold is not usually, regularly, delivered to residences. Gold is not usually kept in safe deposit boxes. Gold is normally kept in commercial bullion vaults and insured. It's not really much fun.
    – S Spring
    Dec 7 '21 at 12:46

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