Eurojust: EU cross-border operation against gold thieves

EPA/BARBARA WALTON

Eurojust: EU cross-border operation against gold thieves


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The European Union’s judicial cooperation agency Eurojust announced the crackdown of a gold laundering ring that resulted in 10 arrests. The operation involved Italy’s financial squad and the state prosecutor’s office in Turin, with the support of Hungarian and Slovenian authorities.

The 10 arrested are accused of being part of a criminal organisation involved in gold laundering in the three countries.

According to a Eurojust press release, gold items were first stolen in Italy, melted down by an Italian foundry, and transformed into bars. The bars were then placed on the official gold market by a Hungarian company that issued fictitious sales invoices to a second Italian enterprise. The fictitious invoices, estimated at approximately €300,000 weekly, were paid by legitimate companies via international bank transfer, with the cash then withdrawn in Hungary and returned to Turin. Concealed cash was transported across national borders.

During the period under investigation, the criminal organisation is estimated to have laundered close to 750kg of pure gold, valued at approximately €25m.

According to Eurojust, police are searching for one more suspect. Authorities conducted 60 house and company searches in Italy, Hungary and Slovenia. The equivalent of €9m was seized, including 20kg of gold, €200,000 in cash on one of the arrested individuals and high-value cars. Other items were also found and seized, including those contained in a safe and in the accountancy books of the involved companies in the various countries.

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