• France's news in English

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available