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    Six men on trial over museum jewellery heist

    BERLIN (AP) – Six men went on trial yesterday in Germany over a spectacular theft of 18th-Century treasures from Dresden’s Green Vault Museum in 2019.

    The defendants, aged 23 to 28, appeared before a regional court in the eastern German city accused of gang robbery and arson. The heist is alleged to have resulted in the theft of 21 items of jewellery comprising about 4,300 gems worth more than EUR113 million
    (USD126 million).

    In their opening statement, prosecutors said the men were armed with a revolver and a pistol with a silencer, German news agency dpa reported.

    The Green Vault is one of the world’s oldest museums. It was established in 1723 and contains the treasury of Augustus the Strong of Saxony, comprising around 4,000 objects of gold, precious stones and other materials. The stolen jewellery has not been recovered.

    Two of the men on trial were convicted in 2020 for a similar heist, the theft of a 100-kilogramme Canadian gold coin dubbed the “Big Maple Leaf” from Berlin’s Bode Museum in 2017.

    The coin, with an estimated value of EUR3.75 million, also has not been recovered.

    Authorities suspect that it was likely cut up into smaller pieces and sold off.

    Defendant Rabieh R hides his face as he is led into a courtroom of the Higher Regional Court in Dresden, eastern Germany. PHOTO: AP
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