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French consulate worker arrested at Israeli border with 334 pounds of gold and $2 million in checks

Published: September 8, 2013
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Source: Raw Story

Israeli customs officials on Tuesday arrested a French consulate employee carrying nearly $2 million in checks, 152 kg in gold bars — about 334 pounds — and a half ton of tobacco as he tried to cross between Jordan and the West Bank in a diplomatic vehicle, a French source confirmed to FRANCE 24.

More than 150kg of gold, mainly in solid bars, were found in the diplomatic vehicle. Intrigued by the smell of tobacco, Israeli officials asked the man if they could search his car. He refused, explaining that his diplomatic plates were registered at the French consulate in Jerusalem and that he possessed a service passport – an official document issued by the French authorities that indicates he is a member of the consular staff but which does not serve as a diplomatic passport.

A hidden treasure

Faced with more questions and increasing pressure, the man grew nervous and asked to be allowed to turn around and return to Jordan. The officials refused and called their superiors, who alerted the French consulate. The ambassador was away, so his deputy took the case.

While the diplomat told the young driver that he was probably right in refusing a search, he insisted it would be in his best interests to obey the custom officials’ orders, whereupon the man informed the consular official that what he was carrying wasn’t “insignificant”. The diplomat, realising that the situation was becoming increasingly complicated, alerted the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Paris.

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