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Germany Launches Major Investigation into Multi-Million Euro Gold Money Laundering Scheme

A major investigation is underway in Germany, focusing on a suspected money laundering operation involving several million euros in gold transactions. The probe was initiated following red flags raised by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), indicating potential illicit activities.


Germany Launches Major Investigation into Multi-Million Euro Gold Money Laundering Scheme

According to Carina Orth from the Customs Investigation Office in Frankfurt am Main, the investigation centers on gold of unknown origin "in the value of a mid double-digit million amount" purchased in Germany, transported to Turkey, and then re-imported back as gold jewelry. Authorities suspect that a 43-year-old individual facilitated these import-export transactions through fictitious companies to obscure the origin of the gold and the associated financial transactions.


Orth emphasized the complexity of the case, stating, "Due to the unclear origin of the gold and the funds used, it cannot be ruled out that these come from potentially incriminated advances."


The Joint Financial Investigation Group (GFG), a collaborative effort between the Customs Office in Frankfurt am Main and the State Criminal Police Office of Rhineland-Palatinate, is leading the investigation.


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A significant breakthrough occurred in October 2023 when authorities seized approximately €522,000 in cash, a weapon, and 19 kilograms of gold during a customs inspection in Prüm. This seizure was instrumental in progressing the investigation.


The FIU played a crucial role in uncovering suspicious transactions that ultimately led to the investigation's initiation. Daniel Theleskalf, head of the FIU, expressed satisfaction with the collaborative effort, stating, "We congratulate our partner authorities on their investigative success and look forward to further cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing."


Recent raids conducted by customs and police officers targeted the 43-year-old suspect and his alleged accomplice, resulting in the seizure of extensive evidence including business documents, computer data, and surveillance footage from multiple locations in Düsseldorf, Markgräflerland, and Luxembourg.


The investigation, overseen by the Saarbrücken public prosecutor's office, commenced in late 2023 following indications provided by the FIU. Joint financial investigation groups, established to combat money laundering and asset concealment, are actively involved in coordinating efforts between various law enforcement agencies.


The Customs search office based in Frankfurt am Main plays a pivotal role in combating international organized money laundering, operating joint financial investigation groups across Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Hesse in collaboration with external police agencies. Additionally, an office situated at Frankfurt am Main Airport bolsters enforcement efforts in this regard.

By fLEXI tEAM

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