Five suspects have been arrested in Madrid after smuggling and trying to sell gold artefacts from Ukraine worth EUR 60 million.
The Ukrainian Security Service and the Spanish National Police arrested five members of a transnational criminal group in Madrid that illegally exported ‘Scythian gold’ products from Ukraine for sale in EU countries.
During the investigation, 11 stolen gold objects of the cultural heritage of Ukraine worth more than EUR 60 million were seized.
The objects included gold earrings, a pendant, chokers and a pectoral dating back to the 8th to 4th centuries BC.
According to the investigation, the criminal group illegally exported artefacts from Ukraine to the European Union in the period from 2014 to 2020.
The Spanish National Police said in a statement obtained by the Madrid Metropolitan on 25th October: “11 pieces of gold valued at EUR 60,000,000 belonging to the historical heritage of Ukraine were seized in Madrid.
“Five suspects were arrested, the gold jewellery, of great historical and economic value, had been stolen and illicitly exported and was going to be sold in Madrid.”
The Madrid Metropolitan obtained a statement from the Security Service of Ukraine, saying: “The perpetrators tried to ‘legalise’ the stolen cultural values under the guise of their acquisition by foreign collectors and subsequent resale on the black market.
“The law enforcement officers gradually documented the criminal actions of those involved and arrested them “red-handed” during the transportation of Ukrainian artefacts.
“An investigation is underway to establish all the circumstances of the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The antiquities were seized and an expert opinion was obtained that they belong to the cultural heritage of Ukraine.
“In addition, complex measures are underway to establish the location of all Ukrainian artefacts of ‘Scythian gold’ that were stolen from the territory of our state.
“The special operation was conducted under the procedural guidance of the Office of the Prosecutor General, as well as in cooperation with the Office of the Attache of the Spanish Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine and the International Cooperation Department of the National Police of Spain.”
Scytho-Siberian art is primarily made up of decorative objects like jewellery that were produced by the nomadic tribes of the Eurasian Steppe.