Berlin 'clan' members accused of stealing giant £3.4m coin

The coin stolen from the bode Museum in Berlin is made out of pure gold weighs about 100 kilos and has a face value of around $1 million

The coin stolen from the bode Museum in Berlin is made out of pure gold weighs about 100 kilos and has a face value of around $1 million

Four men have gone on trial in Berlin, accused of the notorious theft of a huge solid-gold coin from the German capital's Bode Museum in 2017.

The coin is valued at €3.75m.

If found guilty of theft in the juvenile court case, the three suspected thieves - who are all registered as unemployed, and represented by two private lawyers each - would face jail terms of up to ten years.

A ladder, a wheelbarrow and a getaway auto were allegedly used in the heist.

Four young men went on trial in Germany on Thursday over the brazen theft of a 100-kilogram Canadian gold coin worth at least $6 million that disappeared from a Berlin museum two years ago. The fourth suspect was a museum guard accused of helping them.

Three men, identified only as Wissam R., Ahmed R. and Wayci R., are accused of stealing the coin during the night using a wheelbarrow to haul it away.

The men hid their faces behind magazines as they entered the court and during the proceedings.

Berlin's B.Z. daily and other German media reported that they are members of the Remmo extended family with roots in Lebanon, several of whose members have been linked to organised crime.

The coin, which has a diameter of 53 centimetres, was on loan from an unidentified collector to the Bode Museum, which describes its exhibition of coins and medals as a "chronicle of human history forged in metal".

Police previous year targeted the Remmos with the seizure of 77 properties worth a total of €9.3m, charging that they were purchased with the proceeds of various crimes, including a 2014 bank robbery.

The "Big Maple Leaf", minted in 2007 with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, is considered the world's second-largest gold coin.

Three of the suspects broke into Berlin's Bode Museum through an upstairs window and used a ladder, wheelbarrow and rope to extract the coin from the bulletproof glass, prosecutors say.

On the night of the break-in security cameras recorded three masked men wearing hoodies near the museum.

The coin was probably damaged when the thieves dropped it twice - once on the tracks that pass by the museum and cross the Spree river, and again in Monbijou park on the opposite river bank, from where they took it away in a auto.

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