Dutch man arrested for fraud linked to German jewel theft

A Dutch man has been arrested and transferred to Germany on charges of fraud in providing loot stolen from a spectacular 2019 robbery at a state museum of priceless 18th-century jewels, prosecutors said Thursday.

The public prosecutor’s office in the eastern city of Dresden said the unnamed 54-year-old suspect claimed to have been offered a valuable item snatched during the audacious robbery and would arrange to sell it back to its rightful owners.

Authorities believe that several members of a notorious crime family carried out the nighttime raid on the Green Vault Museum in Dresden Royal Palace in November 2019.

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Thieves snatched 21 pieces of jewelry and other valuables from the collection of Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong, studded with more than 4,300 diamonds.

To this day, there is no trace of the jewels, including a sword with a hilt set with diamonds and a shoulder piece containing the famous 49-carat white Dresden diamond.

The suspect, who is now being held in Germany, is believed to have contacted a Dutch technical informant in December 2021 who claimed to be a diamond dealer from Antwerp.

He told the investigator that he was offered the chance to buy back a historic Polish medal that belonged to the museum for 40,000 euros ($41,400).

After an initial check of the facts presented, the investigator agreed and the sum was handed over to the suspect in cash.

“However, contrary to his allegations, the suspect fled with the money,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Once he was identified, authorities found that the man had a long criminal record.

He was being held in the Netherlands in March this year when he was named the alleged perpetrator in the recall scam and has been transferred to Dresden this month where he will stand trial.

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Several suspects are on trial for theft, and all are members of the so-called “Remo clan”, an extended family known for its network of ties to organized crime in Germany.

Insurance experts say the value of the stolen items is at least 113.8 million euros, with German media calling it the largest art theft in recent history.

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