MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. The Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB), in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, has thwarted smuggling of 200 million rubles ($2,715,000) worth of precious metals, the FSB press service announced late Tuesday. According to the press service, the smuggling operation was planned by a crime group of Russian and Lithuanian nationals.
"The FSB, in cooperation with the Interior Ministry, has thwarted criminal activity of a group, comprised of citizens of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Lithuania, who set up a channel for smuggling of precious metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium) to Germany through Belarus and Lithuania," the press service disclosed.
According to the press service, a truck search near the Russian-Belarusian border discovered 21 "big bags" [flexible intermediate bulk containers, FIBCs] with 11 tons of ground car catalytic converters, which contained at least $2,715,000 worth of platinum, palladium and rhodium.
Besides, the FSB and police officers busted offices and warehouses, used by the criminals, discovering a total of 162 kg of refined gold and silver, over 700 kg of ground catalytic converters which contained over 10 million rubles ($135,700) worth of precious metals, as well as money, including foreign currency, used in illegal transactions with the precious metals.
A criminal proceeding has been initiated.