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Prosecutors: No new lead on stolen Dresden jewels

January 10, 2020

Two months after a brazen robbery at one of Europe's largest treasure collections, an Israeli firm has claimed it was offered the priceless jewels to buy. But German authorities said they had no such evidence.

The breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle at Dresden's Green Vault museum, one of the pieces that was stolen in a recent heist
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Jürgen Karpinski/Grünes Gewölbe/Polizeidirektion Dresden

German prosecutors have dismissed claims from a Tel Aviv-based security company that jewels stolen from a museum  in the eastern city of Dresden last year have been offered for sale.

The historic pieces were part of several jewelry sets that were seized in a heist at Dresden's Grünes Gewölbe, or Green Vault, in late November.

Israeli security firm CGI Group said Friday that it had been contacted by individuals claiming to have two of the stolen jewels; they apparently want to sell them for €9 million ($10 million) and receive payment in Bitcoin.

The two jewels in question were the Dresden White Diamond and the breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle (pictured above), CGI Group chief executive Zvika Nave was reported as saying by German news agency dpa.

"All information was shared in real time with Dresden state prosecutors," Nave said.

But Dresden public prosecutors and the city's police have refuted CGI's claim, saying there is simply no evidence to support it.

"The investigating authorities have no indications that jewelry stolen from the Green Vault was offered for sale," the prosecutors said in a statement.

CGI Group had also said it was hired by the museum to find the stolen jewelry and review security measures at the site.

But in a further, bizarre development, Dresden's prosecutors said that was not true. Their statement said the museum "did not hire the Israeli company CGI to review the security of the Green Vault, or to conduct any other investigations."

Read more: Art theft: 'There is always a risk for museums'

Museum voices skepticism

The state body in charge of Dresden's Green Vault museum had already voiced surprise at the security firm's claims earlier on Friday.

"The company also did not establish contact with us," said Stephan Adam, the spokesman for the Dresden State Art Collections (SKD).

The SKD also said that it had no information regarding the offer to purchase the jewels, and stressed that CGI Group had not been contacted to carry out investigations into the theft.

Shocking heist

In the weeks since the robbery, authorities have been hunting down leads but have not yet recovered any of the jewels. 

Authorities are offering a reward of €500,000 ($556,000) for useful information about the robbery. Police said they had so far received around 1,200 tip-offs from Germany and abroad. They are also assessing hundreds of traces of evidence from three crime scenes.

In the early hours of November 25, two thieves broke a window and entered Dresden's Green Vault museum.

The suspects then used an ax to break into display cases in the jewel room — snagging three sets of jewelry that contained an estimated 100 pieces. The whole heist lasted just minutes before the suspects took off in a car.

The robbery of one of Europe's largest treasure collections made international headlines.

nm,rs/msh (AFP, dpa)

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