Switzerland holds referendum on plan to hoard 1,650 tons of gold

Government And Institutions Associated Press

Voters in Switzerland have begun casting their ballots in a referendum over whether to protect the country's wealth by investing in gold.

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Proponents of the plan say the Swiss central bank should hold a fifth of its reserves in gold within five years. That would mean buying about 1,500 metric tons (1,650 short tons) of gold worth more than $60 billion.

If the initiative wins the backing of a majority of voters Sunday, the Swiss National Bank would be forced to keep its gold in Switzerland and be banned from selling any of it.

Voters are also being asked to decide on separate plans to limit immigration and end special tax privileges for rich foreigners in Switzerland.

Opinion polls earlier this month predicted voters won't back any of the proposals.