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France

French builders steal €900,000 of buried gold

© AFP, Thomas Coex - archive picture of gold bars

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2014-08-11

Three French builders stole a treasure trove of gold bars and coins worth 900,000 euros which they found when working on a property in Normandy, according to local media reports.

Regional daily Paris Normandie reported on Monday that the three men were levelling the ground around a house prior to building an extension when they found the stash hidden in glass jars.

The booty, which prosecutors believe had laid buried and forgotten since the Second World War, included sixteen gold bars weighing a kilogramme each, and some 600 gold $20 coins dating from between 1924 and 1927, each weighing 33 grammes.

According to Paris Normandie, the owner of the property in the Eure region of Normandy joked to the men as they started digging up the garden: “If you find any treasure, let me know!”

The workers, aged 20, 33 and 40, had other ideas when they stumbled on the hidden gold.

According to Normandy prosecutors, they spirited the bars and coins away from the property and started selling the booty to a local coin dealer after “a period of reflection”.

But one of them slipped up when he paid a massive 270,000 euro cheque into his bank account, a transaction that was picked up by France’s tax authorities who investigated immediately.

According to the report, police confiscated a Land Rover, a Citroen DS3, a Peugeot 3008 and a Suzuki GSR motorbike, along with hundreds of thousands of euros.

The three builders admitted that they had stolen the gold and are due to be tried for theft at a court in Evreux, to the northwest of Paris. The coin collector, who has also been charged, denies he knew about the theft.

Date created : 2014-08-11

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