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ECONOMICS > Mystery on jet with 1.5 tons of gold

ISTANBUL

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An A300 cargo plane owned by Turkish ULS firm carrying 1.5 tons of gold from Ghana to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was still being held at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport yesterday evening due to some missing documents.

The value of the gold on the detained Turkish cargo plane was revealed to be worth $65 million, Doğan news agency reported.

If ULS is found guilty after official inspections, the company might be fined triple the value of the gold, $195 million, the agency said.

The plane reportedly was initially going to land at Sabiha Gökçen on Istanbul’s Asian side on Jan. 1, but was diverted to Atatürk Airport because of heavy fog for refueling and a personnel change. During checks the plane was held because of missing and fake documents.

The plane has been kept at the apron under the surveillance of private security officers until the inquiries are made in accordance with customs regulations.

The increasing gold trade between Turkey and Iran, which also reportedly involves a via-U.A.E. route, has been widely discussed recently, prompting a U.S. reaction.

Turkey and Iran trade gold for gas to bypass a U.S. embargo on the Islamic Republic for its alleged nuclear weapons program.

Turkey sold $6.5 billion worth of gold to Iran and another $4.2 billion portion to the U.A.E in the first 11 months of 2012, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said last week.

January/08/2013

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