Brian McKenna explores The Secret World of Gold – by T’Cha Dunlevy (Montreal Gazette – April 18, 2013)

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Documentarian reveals the drama and danger behind one of the world’s oldest currencies

MONTREAL – Brian McKenna didn’t predict the recent nosedive in gold prices, but he knows someone who did.

“Andy sent me an email early Friday morning,” recounted the Montreal director. “He said, ‘There’s a big event happening. Someone’s dumping 500 tons of gold into the market.’ That ended up driving the price down by $78 an ounce. And 500 tons is 16 million ounces — we’re talking about a serious intervention here. Who’s got that kind of money?”

“Andy” is Andrew Maguire, a key source in McKenna’s fascinating new film The Secret World of Gold, which premières Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC-TV. The hour-long documentary plunges into the dramatically rich narrative of gold, unveiling some shocking facts along the way. “I was just going to do a history piece, until I stumbled over a whistleblower,” McKenna said.

A veteran gold and silver trader, Maguire denounces the shady tactics of the industry, breaking down the ways in which precious metal prices are manipulated using insider trading.

“He was tremendous,” McKenna said. “It took me eight months to persuade him to come on camera, but I was willing to wait. I knew he was critical to the film. It turns out he was burned by the BBC. He spent seven months showing them everything, going online and showing them the way things worked. Then after all that, they said, ‘The show’s been killed.’

“Word on the street is that Tony Blair, who is on a retainer to JPMorgan for $2 million a year, made a call (and the story was dropped). Did that happen? I don’t know. It’s an opinion that people hold; it doesn’t make it so. But something made the BBC stop an important investigation into which they had probably invested three-quarters of a million dollars.”

McKenna’s film also explores the secretive smuggling of European gold reserves during the Second World War, and how gold has gone from a reliable physical currency to an abstract concept, bought and sold in the blink of an eye on the stock market, taking on all the baggage of modern global finance in the process.

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