Three men including two members of an Arabic family linked to organised crime have been jailed for a total of 12 years and four months after stealing a rare 220lb gold coin from a German museum.
The ‘Big Maple Leaf’, considered the second largest coin in the world, has not been found since it vanished from the Bode Museum, Berlin, and is believed to have been cut up and melted down.
The £600,000 coin was one of five minted in Canada and bears the image of Queen Elizabeth II and a maple leaf. It is thought to be worth considerably more when broken up as it is 99.99 per cent gold.
Ahmed Remmo, 21, and his cousin Wissam, 23, were both jailed for four years and six months along with museum security guard Dennis W, 21, who was jailed for three years and four months at a Berlin court. Ahmed Remmo’s brother Wayci, 25, was cleared of all charges.
The Remmo family is said to be notorious for involvement in organised crime.\
After the coin was stolen in March 2017, police raids on the premises and around Berlin in July linked the heist to the Remmo ‘clan’ which had saw guns, luxury cars and more than 100,000 euros confiscated.
Investigators also used phone taps and GPS devices to track cars and searched more than 50 properties, the defence said at the trial.
They also recovered a ladder by railway tracks near the museum and a wheelbarrow, which they said were involved in the robbery.
Security camera footage of the heist shows three men wearing dark hoodies, scarves and baseball caps making their way to the museum.
They broke in through a window, smashed a glass case with an axe and used a rope, wooden beam and a wheelbarrow to lift the coin onto adjacent elevated urban railway tracks before transferring to a car, said prosecutor Martina Lamb.
The Remmo family, whose patriarchs fled war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s, are considered to be one of Berlin’s most notorious organised crime clans.
Police last year targeted the Remmos with the seizure of 77 properties worth a total of 9.3 million euros, charging that they were purchased with the proceeds of various crimes, including a 2014 bank robbery.
In recent years, so-called ‘clans’ of primarily Middle Eastern origin have become a particular focus for police, politics and media in Berlin.
A popular fictional TV series, 4 Blocks, has even focused on a crime family in the capital’s Neukoelln district.