To some gold may not be “money”, but to a group of Greeks it was worth far more than merely pet rocks.
According to Ekathimerini, customs officials at the Greek-Turkish border crossing of Kipoi have confiscated the largest amount of gold that anyone has ever attempted to smuggle out of the country.
The loot was found hidden in a taxi and consisted of 18 bars of unrefined gold, weighing 33.5 kilos, along with four crosses made of oure gold (11.6 grams). The gold was found last Friday during a police check on cars planing to cross the border.
According to Greek media, the value of the gold is estimated at 800,000 euros, which translates into 200,000 euros in unpaid tax revenue for the Greek state.
The undisclosed number of suspects, whose identity was not revealed, have appeared before a prosecutor, authorities said.
It is unclear if Greece will sell the confiscated gold to repay creditors.
This is not the first time a major gold smuggling attempt was busted in Greece. in April 2013, a German was caught at the Athens International Airport after allegedly trying to smuggle nearly half a ton of gold and silver out of Greece, according to airport officials.
The suspect was preparing to board a Lufthansa flight for Germany. The airline uncovered silver tablets in a cargo container and customs officials then found gold and banknotes.
The man arrested at Athens International Airport was said to be carrying 7kg (15lbs) of gold tablets and almost 300,000 euros (£255,000) in cash in his luggage.
Customs officials also believe he attempted to smuggle out another 425kg of silver.
A source within the Greek police told the BBC that their investigation would focus on the man’s links to any gang involved in money-laundering.
In the most recent case, it is unclear, but would be interesting to find out, who in Turkey the smuggled gold was intended for, and where it would proceed from there. Recall that as reported here last year, Turkey was an instrumental cog in the massive gold-for-oil triangle that involved Iran, Turkey and Dubai, when during the peak of the Iran embargo, Tehran bartered oil in exchange for gold which was then used to pay for various critical imports.
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