In August 2012, police in Italy reported that they has been an increase of 78 percent in the amount of gold, silver and cash that was prevented from being smuggled out of the country in the first six month of 2012.
The cash-for-gold industry in Italy is believed to be used by criminals as a method of money laundering, according to authorities. A network of gold smugglers broken up by police made $207 Million in profits smuggling over 33,000 pounds of gold and silver.
The number of cash-for-gold stores in Italy has quadrupled in a two-year span, and only a small minority of the 28,000 shops are officially registered with the government.
Source: “Italy busts suspected gold-smuggling network,” BBC News, November 8, 2012.