Crime Files Network

Archive for the ‘GOLD SILVER BULLION’ Category

Has a mysterious WW2 train been found and was it carrying tonnes of gold image

Has a mysterious WW2 train been found and was it carrying tonnes of gold?

Warsaw: Two people in Poland say they have found a Nazi German train cloaked in mystery since it was rumoured to have gone missing near the end of World War II while carrying away gold, gems and guns ahead of advancing Soviet Red Army forces.

Local authorities in Poland’s south-western district of Walbrzych said they had been contacted by a law firm representing a Pole and a German who said they had located the train and were seeking 10 per cent of the value of the findings.

“Lawyers, the army, the police and the fire brigade are dealing with this,” Marika Tokarska, an official at the Walbrzych district council, said. “The area has never been excavated before and we don’t know what we might find.”

Sobibor train station in Poland in 2009. The Nazis killed at least 250,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust.image
A view of the Sobibor train station in Poland in 2009. The Nazis killed at least 250,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust. Photo: ReutersLocal news reports said the train in question went missing in 1945, packed with loot from the-then eastern German city of Breslau, now called Wroclaw and part of Poland, as the Red Army closed in at the end of World War II.

One local media report said the train was armoured and belonged to the Wehrmacht (Nazi Germany’s military).

Radio Wroclaw cited local folklore as saying the train entered a tunnel near Ksiaz Castle in the mountainous Lower Silesian region and never emerged. According to that theory, the tunnel was later closed and its location long forgotten.

Other media said the train could have been carrying some 300 tonnes of gold.

According to Radio Wroclaw, the 150-metre-long train was carrying guns, “industrial equipment”, gems and other valuable treasure. Tokarska said she did not have any details on the location or the contents of the missing train.

Some sceptics say there is no evidence that it ever existed.

“A handful of people have already looked for the train, damaging the line in the process, but nothing was ever found,” Radio Wroclaw quoted Joanna Lamparska as saying, describing her as a connoisseur of the region’s history.

“But the legend has captured imaginations.”

Trains were indeed used to spirit Nazi loot back to Berlin as US-led Allied and Soviet forces surged towards the German capital from the west and the east in the winter and spring of 1945.

In the case of the so-called “Gold Train”, Nazi forces sent 24 freight carriages from Budapest towards Germany filled with family treasures including gold, silver and valuable paintings seized from Hungarian Jews and estimated to be worth up to $US200 million ($273 million).

That train was intercepted by US soldiers, who, according to a later US investigation, helped themselves to some of the loot.




A group photo of Porgera community women and men who say they were raped or<br /><br />
violently abused at the gold mine owned by Barrick Gold Corporation.

A group photo of Porgera community women and men who say they were raped or violently abused at the gold mine owned by Barrick Gold Corporation. 

Eleven women and girls who were raped, gang-raped or violently molested in the Papua New Guinea Highlands have reached an out-of-court settlement with the world’s biggest gold miner, having refused to accept the “insulting” compensation paid to 120 fellow victims of the company’s security guards.

“It would be like accepting lollies as compensation,” one of the 11 told Fairfax Media. Identified only as Jane Doe 10, she was 14 when she and two teenage friends were raped in 2010 at the Porgera mine, owned by the Barrick Gold Corporation.

The Porgera community says security guards and mobile police at the mine have raped more than 200 women and girls over the past two decades. It says men and boys have been beaten, shot and killed for entering the open pit or tailings dumps or going near the mine’s property.

The 11 women were preparing to sue Barrick Gold in the United States, convinced they would be unable to find justice in PNG. The human rights group EarthRights International had been scheduled to file a lawsuit late last month in Las Vegas because the Toronto-based miner has major operations in the state of Nevada.

But the women reached an undisclosed settlement which is likely to be well above the 21,320 kina ($10,430) they say Barrick offered most of them. The settlement also covered the families of three people allegedly killed in violence at the mine.

Barrick says 90 per cent of the women who came forward with allegations accepted packages ranging from 23,040 to 32,740 kia under a “remedial framework” established in October 2012. It says the payouts were determined not by Barrick but an independent group of PNG women’s advocates, and they were at “the upper end of civil court judgments in sexual assault and rape cases” in the country.

These women had to agree never to seek further damages, a provision condemned by MiningWatch Canada, which investigated the abuses – as did Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and legal clinics at Harvard and New York University law schools. But Barrick said the UN High Commission on Human Rights reviewed the remedial framework and the legal waiver was consistent with UN guiding principles.

The mine’s ever-expanding waste dumps, EarthRights says, give impoverished Porgera women and girls little option but to enter the company’s property to scavenge for remnants of gold or to cross the site to reach agricultural land, commercial areas, schools and other villages.

The oldest of the Porgera 11, now aged in her 80s, alleges she was raped many times. Jane Doe 10, now 19, is the youngest, along with another girl who was also 14 when they and an older teenager were seized by three mobile policemen at the mine.

The officers each raped one of the girls. One officer has died but two are awaiting sentencing this month for their crimes.

“I brought disgrace to my community and my parents,” Jane Doe 10 said, speaking through an interpreter. When she returned to school she had been mocked, such is the social stigma associated with rape. She promptly left school and gave up on an education. She married young but, when her husband learned about the rape, he assaulted her and abandoned her with their young child.

The remedial framework compensation package was very low by local customary standards, say Jane Doe 10 and another of the 11 women, Jane Doe 2. To accept it would “add disgrace to the disgrace”, Jane Doe 10 said.

Jane Doe 2 was collecting firewood near the mine’s tailings dump when two security guards raped her. She said they threw her against sharp stones and she still carries the injuries. Her husband’s response to the rape was to beat her and abandon her.

Then security guards at the mine raped her daughter, also near the dump.

“We are both victims,” Jane Doe 2 said, “and now I am finding it difficult to look after my kids as well as my daughter’s.

“I treated Barrick as one of my sons. I have given my land to Barrick. But in return Barrick has not shown any respect … so now I am going to file a lawsuit,” she said on the eve of the aborted action in Las Vegas.

Mother and daughter say they still have no choice but to return to the scene of their rapes to find scraps of gold.

In 2008, EarthRights says, Barrick’s chief executive wrote in a letter to Porgeran leaders that claims of gang rape were “most distasteful, to say the least as you know these allegations to be untrue”.

Asked if it was slow to accept the abuses, Barrick’s vice-president, communications, Andy Lloyd, told Fairfax Media: “When allegations first surfaced, the company attempted to investigate the claims but was unsuccessful in identifying victims or perpetrators.

“When Human Rights Watch came to us with credible information, we acted immediately, terminating the employees implicated in the assaults and handing over all information to the PNG police. We regret that we were unable to uncover these assaults sooner.”

Barrick bought the mine in 2006 and many assaults predate its arrival. However, a local human rights activist, Karath Mal Waka, from the Akali Tange Association, who acted as translator for Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 10, says sexual assaults persist. He says an eight-year-old was raped recently at the mine.

Mr Lloyd replied: “There have been no cases of Barrick employees involved in sexual assaults since 2010. We are aware of an incident similar to the one you are describing, however it did not occur on the mine site and it did not involve a Porgera Joint Venture employee.”

Asked about the shooting of men and boys – which a local association has put at 14 deaths in the past 10 years – Mr Lloyd said: “The mine’s security guards do not carry lethal ammunition.”

Mr Waka says more than 100 rape victims – girls and women, many married – were not covered by the remedial framework and he wants Barrick to reopen that program for them. Mr Lloyd was unaware of any extra claims and said the framework was advertised widely over many months.

The amount to be paid to the 11 women is not known. It is unlikely to approach the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars that juries in the US can award to rape victims.

When Fairfax Media covered the story in February 2011, one woman described how she and three others were raped by 10 security personnel, one of whom forced her to swallow a used condom that he had used while raping the other victims.

A 26-year-old woman was allegedly raped while collecting native vegetables near the mine in January 2011 – after Barrick had taken action. Because she resisted, her genitals were repeatedly burnt with a hot rod, the Porgera Alliance alleged.

Jethro Tulin, executive officer of the Akali Tange Association, said before the settlement: “Barrick has been raping our wives and daughters and killing our fathers, brothers and sons for years.”

Catherine Coumans, of MiningWatch Canada, said: “Barrick tried to push the problem under the rug for many years despite regular reports of human rights abuses committed by its security forces, documented by numerous researchers and human rights organisations.”

In a joint statement after the settlement, Barrick and EarthRights International said: “All claimants are pleased with this resolution.”

Mr Lloyd said Barrick took action at all of its mines around the world after after the Porgera allegations came to light, and it had “zero tolerance” for human rights abuses.

“Since then, thousands of employees have undergone human rights training, we implemented a new global human rights policy, we have carried out human rights training for local police forces [including in PNG], we have formed a partnership with White Ribbon to carry out awareness and prevention programs aimed at stopping violence against women in communities where we operate.

“In PNG, we worked with leading human rights experts to develop the remedy program, perhaps the first of its kind ever implemented by a mining company. We are also funding community-based initiatives … to combat violence against women.”

Barrick is negotiating to sell the Porgera mine. Any liabilities from future victim claims would remain with the mine, Mr Lloyd confirmed.



Colombian gold CEO involved in $970m laundering case arrested

A manhunt for the Chief Executive Officer of CI Goldex, once the Colombia’s second-largest gold exporter, ended this week after police caught John Hernandez on a public bus Tuesday night.

According to Colombia’s Attorney General’s office, the company and its top executives are at the centre of a $970 million money-laundering scheme involving cocaine traffickers, Bloomberg reported.

For years, prosecutors followed the traces left by Hernandez, in an attempt to determine his involvement in the money laundering case. They finally gathered enough evidence to charge him last week, and authorities ordered his arrest along with two dozen other people.

Colombian gold CEO involved in $970m laundering case arrested

In the past, Goldex had acknowledged that most its gold was mined in the northeast of the Antioquia department, where illegal armed groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Urabeños are active in mining activities.

Mixing it up

Prosecutors believe the company used to add illegally mined gold to legally extracted minerals and thus helped finance the illegal businesses of rebels and neo-paramilitaries.

An anonymous source within the Colombian police told local paper El Tiempo (in Spanish) last year that Goldex was not the only gold exporter investigated for illegal activities.

“We are investigating six companies that are suspicious and could be linked to crimes like money laundering and illicit enrichment,” the source told the newspaper.

Two years ago local authorities said than profits from illegal gold mining were already five times greater than returns from cocaine for rebels groups operating in the country.

Colombia, Latin America’s third-largest economy, has over the past decade been working hard to leave behind the years of trafficking-fuelled violence, which tainted its name abroad.


Ex-senior Chinese military officer Gu Junshan, who is facing several charges of corruption, including unlawfully selling hundreds of positions in the army, is said to have also shipped billions worth of gold bars for bribes, Hong Kong-based Phoenix Weekly magazine reported Monday.

The gold-obsessed general and former deputy director of the logistics department of the People’s Liberation Army, is said to have been especially fond of solid gold, particularly when it came in the shape of Buddha statues.

But when it was time to receiving “gifts” Gu allegedly preferred ground up gold rather than gold bars, Reuters reports:

When offering [bribes], he would fill up a Mercedes with hundreds of bars of gold and then simply hand over the car keys to the recipient, the report said.

“Gu got exactly what he wanted,” a person with knowledge of the probe told the magazine.

Gu is alleged to have shared much of the spoils of his scams with Xu Caihou, his superior, including giving a 20 million yuan (US$3.1million) debit card to Xu’s daughter as a wedding present, the South China Morning Post reported in March. Xu was forced to retire as deputy head of the powerful Central Military Commission last year.

China intensified a crackdown on corruption in the military in the late 1990s, forbidding army members from engaging in businesses. But officers have been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances.

Anti-graft advocates believe corruption in the Chinese military is so pervasive that it could undermine the nation’s ability to wage war.



A $625,000 gold shipment disappeared in a suspected robbery after arriving via American Airlines in Miami this week, reports Fox News.

En route from Ecuador, the box full of gold was unloaded onto a motorized luggage cart by five airline crew members. An hour later, the cart was found at the terminal gate without the box of gold.

Police did not say who owned the gold or where it was originally headed.

The FBI is looking into the theft.

Coming in mainly from Mexico and Colombia, Miami’s No. 1 import is gold and  last year it was valued at almost $8 billion. Almost all of the bullion is headed for Switzerland, according to Reuters.


USA Today reports of a daring heist on the Caribbean island of Curacao over the weekend when masked men dressed in police jackets boarded a fishing boat and stole 70 gold bars – worth almost $13 million at today’s prices:

The boat’s captain was struck in the head in the early-morning assault before the thieves made off with the gold in three cars, police spokesman Reggie Huggins said. Authorities believe there were at least six men involved in the heist. No suspects were in custody.
Gold Company

Huggins declined to say who owned the approximately 476 pounds of gold but he said it was a legal shipment that was being trans-shipped through Curacao and officials in the island had been advised in advance that it was coming as part of normal security protocols. He declined to disclose the eventual destination of the metal.

Like many of the smaller islands in the Caribbean, Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles is used as an offshore financial centre and tax haven
LawCentral Online Australian Legal Doc Shop


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.

Subscribe to Crime Files Network