Israeli soldiers discovered approximately NIS 2 million worth of gold bullion hidden within the side door of a car from eastern Jerusalem when the driver, an Arab with Israeli identification, arrived at the Derech Avot (Patriarchs’ Way) tunnels checkpoint this week.
The driver, who identified himself as an interior designer, told the soldiers that the gold — wrapped in five packages, each containing five individual 1.5 kg gold bars — belonged to him, and he was bringing it in his private Ford from Hebron to Jerusalem.
Since the man’s ID had checked out, and nothing else was found, the soldiers turned the matter over to Israeli customs authorities, who continued the questioning.
Customs officials requested the routine paperwork that generally accompanies gold bars in such amounts. At that point, it became clear there was no documentation, no accounting to back up the claims and no taxes having been paid on the massive sum involved.
At that point, the “interior designer “changed his story and said instead that he was taking the gold to Ramallah (not Jerusalem) from Hebron as a middleman between those who work in the jewelry trade.
Customs workers at the Israel Tax Authority seized the gold bars since there was no accounting paperwork to back up the claims.
The investigation is continuing, authorities said.