Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

Russian police dig up £1.5m of stolen gems buried in forest since 2018 World Cup

A £1.5 million treasure trove of stolen diamonds and gems has been found buried in a Russian forest.

The loot was robbed during the 2018 World Cup and finally discovered hidden underground in plastic bags after police tracked down a member of the international gang of crooks who allegedly stole the precious stones.

According to the Daily Mail, the stash had been stolen from the 'suitcase' of an employee of the Seven Diamonds jewellery store while being transported to an expo in Kazan, one of the cities that hosted the 2018 Football World Cup.

Normally it's hard for visitors to get access to the country, but visa rules were relaxed for the tournament.

Following the robbery, police said they had identified an 'unspecified number of Colombians and one Guatemalan' as the alleged suspects, and released a copy of a passport pic of one of the men.

He was later identified as Edgar Alejandro Valero, whom police claimed had fled the country in a rented car after the crime.

Valero was eventually tracked down to Argentina in 2019 and subsequently extradited.

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Another of the alleged suspects left Kazan for the South Korean capital of Seoul while the others fled to Moscow.

Valero is now being held at a detention facility on charges of theft, conspiracy and belonging to a criminal group.

Irina Volk, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, said: "The confiscated jewellery will be handed over to the rightful owner in the near future."

Photos released by Russian police show mud-covered plastic bags stuffed with diamonds, rings, brooches and necklaces.

Valero had told police roughly where the stash was buried but officers had to search for days before finally uncovering it.

If convicted, he faces a grim future – Russian prisons are recognised as being among the toughest in the world, with problems of overcrowding and harsh conditions.

Source: Read Full Article

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