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Canadian detectives are hunting the masterminds of a sophisticated $C1.9 million ($1.95 million) bank fraud that netted the thieves 75 gold bars from Perth Mint.

The gold bars are uniquely Australian, stamped with jumping kangaroos and the Perth Mint’s swan logo, and were illegally bought last month from a Montreal financial institution.

The fraudsters have been shopping the bars around Canadian jewellery stores and metal industries in an attempt to either sell or melt the stolen treasure, Toronto police said.

Only one of the 75 10-ounce bars has been recovered, while two arrests have been made.

Toronto Police have released photos of the Perth Mint gold bars to help the public easily identify the stolen booty.

“The bars are so unique we hope anyone who is approached to purchase or melt the gold will contact us,” Detective Ruth Moran, of Toronto Police’s financial crimes unit, said.

“We know people have tried to sell or melt them on at least three occasions.”

The fraudsters managed to pull off the theft by illegally obtaining a draft from a Toronto bank to obtain the $C1.9 million. They then bought the 75 Perth Mint gold bars, 19 one-kilogram gold bars and two 100-gram gold bars.

Detective Moran said two men have been charged with possessing the bars, Thevarajah Thambipillai, 55, and Senthuran Kanapathipillai, 32, but the search continues for alleged accomplices.

“One of them had one of the bars in his possession at the time of his arrest and that’s the bar we have,” Detective Moran said.

“The other man was arrested with possession but we were unable to recover the bars he had.”

The Canadian Bankers Association is offering a reward of up to $C50,000 ($50,850) for any public information that leads to the arrest, conviction and recovery of the gold bars.

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