Published time: September 25, 2013
Some 44 kilograms of gold bars from an overall cargo of 300 kg of precious metal have mysteriously disappeared from a flight bound to Zurich. An insider operation could be to blame for a €1.5 million heist at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
France’s national aviation police (GTA) is now investigating how and by whom the gold was stolen from the aircraft, after Air France said 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 for Air France was quoted by the Local.
Only seven of nine cases handled by the American secure transportation company Brink’s reached the final destination in Switzerland onboard the Air France flight last Thursday.
“We are investigating the matter, and especially the possibility that this was an inside job,” a source familiar with the investigation told the British Daily Mail.
Brink’s, which provided for the cargo’s security, nonetheless denied being responsible, saying “it was not in charge of the transport and the packages were not under its responsibility when they disappeared,”writes the Local.
The firm clarified that their responsibility “was limited to ensure the safety of the consignment during its transit at Charles de Gaulle.”
AFP Photo/Joel Saget
News of the heist comes on the heels of another scandal for the carrier, when earlier this month a record-breaking 1.3-ton, €200 million worth of cocaine was discovered being transported by Air France from South America.
The flight from Caracas, Venezuela to Paris contained 30 suitcases of narcotics onboard and has led to the arrests of nine suspects, including three Venezuelan security agents and three British nationals following the cargo’s discovery on September 11th. The other three suspects were Italian nationals.
During that scandal Venezuelan Interior Minister was quick to suggest an inside Air France job.
“How can the cocaine shipment reach France and it gets taken out without going through the normal controls?” Miguel Rodriguez asked.
The security firm Brink’s had also been in the spotlight earlier this year after approximately €38 million worth of diamonds were stolen in a Brussels airport. Not a single shot was fired during the fifteen minute heist, carried out by eight suspects armed with AK-47s who drove two vehicles straight to the airplane where the gems were being transferred from a Brink’s armored van.