• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Gold worth €1.5m 'stolen' from Air France flight

The Local/AFP · 24 Sep 2013, 11:07

Published: 24 Sep 2013 11:07 GMT+02:00

The gold ingots, valued at approximately €1.5 million, were in the possession of the Brink’s secure transportation company, and destined to travel in the hold of an Air France flight from Paris to Zurich on September 19th, according to TF1 television.

Air France said on Tuesday it had filed a complaint with police.

"We hope the investigations will allow us to quickly determine the sequence of events and identify those responsible," a spokesman said.

Brink's a US-based company, which regularly transports gold to Swiss banks as funds transfers, had put nine suitcases, containing roughly 300 kilos of gold ingots, on the flight from Charles de Gaulle airport last Thursday.

On arrival in the Swiss city, two cases were missing from the Brink’s delivery, containing a total of 44 kilos of gold bars.

However in a statement on Tuesday Brink's denied any reponsibility over the missing gold bars, saying "it was not in charge of the transport and the packages were not under its responsibility when they disappeared."

The company added that its task "was limited to ensure the safety of the consignment during its transit at Charles de Gaulle," a mission that Brink's claimed it carried out "perfectly well".  

The French subsidiary of Brink's employs a total of 6,000 people in France. It has 1,800 security officers who work in French airports to inspect passengers and baggage.

France's national aviation police, the GTA, is leading the investigation into how the missing packages were taken from the aircraft, and by whom.

Cocaine seizure in Paris

The presumed theft comes at a bad time for Air France chiefs.

Air France staff are already in the spotlight, after the recent record seizure of 1.3 tonnes of pure cocaine, found in 30 suitcases on an Air France flight from Caracas to Paris.

The €200 million ($270 million) haul has so far led to the arrest of nine people, including three Venezuelan security agents. Three British nationals are believed to be among six people arrested in Paris, although French authorities are yet to confirm these reports.

Miguel Rodriguez, Interior Minister in the South American country, told AFP it was highly likely the smugglers had accomplices within Air France working with them

Story continues below…

"How can the cocaine shipment reach France and it gets taken out without going through the normal controls?" he asked.

For his part, aviation security expert Christophe Naudin said the smuggling had to be an Air France inside job to some extent, given how the suitcases appear to have been loaded onto the plane without going through the normal check-in procedures.

"By definition there must have been help from people inside Air France's operation in Caracas to get the bags labelled," Naudin said.

The airline has ordered an internal investigation into the cocaine seizure, and says it is working closely with the police over the incident.

Don't miss a story about France - Join The Local France on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France's top court suspends burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court has suspended a town's ban on wearing the full-body burqini swimsuit.

Milk price raised, but French farmers still unhappy
The sign on the tractor reads 'We're dying', as farmers blocked Lactalis dairy headquarters. Photo: AFP

Milk prices have been raised by France's biggest dairy group to placate farmers, but unions say their demands have not been met.

Burqini bans 'dividing France's Muslim women'
Photo: AFP

The burqini bans have divided France, but they have also left Muslim women in France in two groups, argues a professor who has spent years studying the impact of the burqa.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Corsica bushfire leaves 500 hectares scorched
Photos: AFP

A massive fire left 500 hectares of bushland in Corsica ravaged.

View from the rue
What do Parisians think of France's burqini bans?
Photo: AFP

With 64 percent of the French against burqinis at the beach, what do the Parisians think?

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,761
jobs available