French investigators have unearthed in Limoges the tip of the iceberg of the 160 million euro jackpot of Muammar Gaddafi stolen from a bank in Benghazi (Libya) in 2017 with the arrest last week of a couple who was looking to sell damaged and deteriorated banknotes.
A story to say the least incredible.
French investigators have unearthed in Limoges the tip of the iceberg of the 160 million euro jackpot of Muammar Gaddafi stolen from a bank in Benghazi (Libya) in 2017 with the arrest last week of a couple who was trying to sell damaged and deteriorated banknotes, we learned Wednesday from a police source.
For some unknown reason, in 2010 the Libyan government ordered several million euros, in 100 and 200 euro notes, from the German Central Bank.
The money is stored in a bank in Benghazi (east).
But at the start of 2017, in the midst of a civil war, the Libyan national army seized the treasure: 160 million euros and 1 to 2 million dollars.
Half of the sum in euros is well preserved while the other half, which has been in the water for some time, is very degraded, tells a source close to the investigation to AFP.
Investigators expect tickets to reappear around the world for years
The Libyan national army is spending the 80 million euros in good condition to buy weapons and equipment.
The other 80 million are badly damaged: cleaned with detergents, they are unusable, but they are real bills.
During the summer of 2018, the European Central Bank was notified of the return to Europe of a few banknotes.
90% of them come from the Turkish community, and more precisely from the Turkish mafia, according to a police source.
The first cases concern Maghreb employees who came to exchange tickets for new ones.
They were paid illegally by Turkish subcontractors.
Too many tickets are pouring into the market.
The alert is given, the UN is diligently investigating and the European Central Bank (ECB) asks in early 2020 not to take back the banknotes in question, of which it holds the numbers.
It is the investigators of the Central Office for the repression of counterfeiting (OCRFM) and the SRPJ of Limoges who discover the branch of Haute-Vienne.
The couple, who work in markets, were getting their supplies in Turkey.
He bought the tickets between 50 and 75% of their face value depending on their degree of degradation.
The money was either mixed with the receipts of the markets, or passed on in Belgium.
In early 2020, the man was arrested by the Belgian police in possession of 15,000 euros of degraded banknotes.
But then, the ECB alert had not yet been issued.
So he was not worried.
In total, according to a source close to the investigation, the couple, who were indicted for aggravated money laundering and left at liberty, have spent 40,000 euros.
But the story does not end there.
Investigators expect banknotes to reappear all over the world for years to come, with the money being used for various trafficking.
They estimate at several millions the sums still remaining in Turkey.