The hidden traffic along 'The Golden Road' to Switzerland

By Federico Franchini (La Cité)

The A9 motorway linking northern Italy with Switzerland is at the heart of a major gold smuggling racket worth hundreds of millions of euros. Last year, an estimated five tonnes of the precious metal was illegally transported into Switzerland where clandestine cargos are melted down by official refiners and transformed into perfectly legal bars of gold. The business is largely managed by criminal networks surrounding 'cash-for-gold' shops that have mushroomed in Italy since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008. But while the Italian police have launched a series of investigations into the traffic, the Swiss authorities have displayed a surprising disinterest into what one official dismissed as "a few minor cases of contraband". Federico Franchini reports.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.