A mysterious stash of 120 gold bars found on a Swiss train it is being turned over to the Red Cross, prosecutors said Friday, after efforts to track down the owner reached the end of the line.
In October 2019, an employee found a package on a train traveling from St Gallen to Lucernethe Lucerne regional prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Among the package labels were the words “ICRC valuables”, in an apparent reference to the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross.
“The package contained 120 gold bars… which were labeled with a logo and serial numbers,” the statement said, adding that the total weight of the stash was 3.7 kilograms.
He did not say how much the stash was worth, but 24-karat gold bars currently sell for around $60,000 a kilo.
“Despite extensive investigations, the owner of the gold bars could not be determined,” the statement said.
“Therefore, neither the owner of the gold nor a connection to possible property crime could be determined”, and the prosecutors closed the case.
“Since the gold was in a package addressed to the ICRC, it can be assumed that the unknown owner wanted to deliver the gold to this organization. Therefore, the find was handed over to the ICRC.”
gold to sell
The ICRC said it had not yet received the gold but intended to sell the bullion to help finance its worldwide operations in places affected by violence and conflict.
“We extend our thanks for this generous contribution to the ICRC, which will play a vital role in sustaining our global humanitarian operations,” the organization said in a statement.
“The donation received will make a significant contribution to financing the ICRC’s global operations, dedicated to protecting and assisting the most vulnerable people affected by war and violence.”
He added that while the organization appreciated all the support, he asked that donations be made through the usual methods.
The ICRC, which has 20,000 employees spread over more than 100 countrieshas had to tighten its belt this year.
The organization, founded 160 years ago, initially asked donors for 2.8 billion Swiss francs ($3.15 billion) for its work in 2023.
But the ICRC announced in April that it was facing a financing crisis and that it would cut 1,500 jobs in the next 12 months in an effort to reduce costs.
He revised his budget to two billion francs.
The ICRC blamed it on an expected drop in humanitarian aid budgets over the next two years and said the cuts would include the closure of at least 20 of its 350 locations around the world.
It warned in March that of its 10 most important operations (Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen) only Ukraine seemed poised for full funding this year.
(With information from AFP)
Whose are these gold bars?: the strange finding on a train that the Swiss police cannot solve