German police recently seized more than 75 properties in Berlin owned by a Lebanese family suspected of organized crime, including the theft of a 100-kilogram gold coin struck by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 and stolen from the Bode Museum last March.
Three family members were detained after the heist of the iconic coin, which was on loan at the museum since 2010 but did not belong to the Mint.
A total of 77 houses, apartment blocks and garden allotments worth about 10 million euros ($15.1 million Cdn.), German media report. The gold coin has not been recovered.
FIVE 100-KILO COINS
PURCHASED IN 2007
The Mint struck a very limited quantity of 100-kilogram gold coins after unveiling the first Big Maple Leaf in 2007. Only five examples were ever purchased by investors from around the world, and the stolen coin was one of those pieces.
The coin belonged to one of Berlin’s most significant numismatic collections, the Münzkabinett collection, which includes more than 540,000 pieces.
Although the coin was issued with a face value of $1 million, its bullion value sits at about $5.4 million today. In addition to its weight of 100 kilograms, the “Big Maple Leaf” has a 53.34-centimetre diameter and a 3.81-centimetre thickness.
The Big Maple Leaf was certified by Guinness World Records to be the world’s largest gold coin in October 2007. Produced at the Mint’s Ottawa facility, the coin features a hand-polished maple leaf design by Mint artist and senior engraver Stan Witten on its reverse. The obverse bears the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susana Blunt.
According to German media, there are concerns the gold was melted down and sold.
Police suspect the seized properties were acquired through the proceeds of crime. Members of the family are suspected of crimes such as murder, drug dealing and human trafficking.