3,7 kilos of mystery gold found on Swiss train given to Red Cross
After a mystery owner left 3,7 kilograms of gold on a Swiss train, Swiss police were unsure if they would be able to get the gold to its intended destination. Thankfully, the Swiss courts now think that they have solved the mystery, and have ruled that the gold will be given to the Red Cross, as the words “ICRC valuable consignment” were found written on the gold package when it was found in 2019.
Gold worth 200.000 Swiss francs left on Swiss train in 2019
The bizarre story began back in 2019, when 120 gold bars weighing 3,7 kilograms were left on a train travelling from St. Gallen to Lucerne. The police took the gold in for investigation, so that they could trace its owner, check where it had come from and see if the bars were linked to any crimes. The investigation concluded that the gold bars were not ill-gotten gains, but the police were also unable to trace the original owner. For this reason, they are now giving the gold to the organisation they believe it was intended for - the Red Cross in Geneva.
"As the gold was in a parcel addressed to the ICRC, we can assume that the unknown owner wanted to give the gold to this organisation. The gold will therefore be handed over to the ICRC," the Lucerne Public Prosecutor said in a press release. In response, an ICRC spokesperson told AFP, "We would like to express our gratitude for this generous contribution to the ICRC", but the organisation also added that they prefer to receive donations via traditional channels.
ICRC currently facing financial difficulties
The 200.000-Swiss-franc donation comes at a time when the ICRC is facing numerous financial difficulties due to complex international economic factors. A combination of high inflation leading to rising costs, coupled with a drop in the generosity of donors since more people have been donating to Ukrainian humanitarian initiatives, is causing a financial shortfall for the charity.
So far, the Red Cross has announced a cost cutting plan worth several hundred million Swiss francs, which will see 26 branches closed out of the charity’s 350 sites around the world. "The donation received will make a significant contribution to funding the ICRC's global operations, which are dedicated to protecting and assisting the most vulnerable people affected by war and violence," the charity told AFP. The organisation went on to explain that the gold itself will be sold so that they can use the funds to support their work.