FRANCE-GOLD:French police say gold ingots left on train are fake
PARIS (Reuters) - A stash of gold-coloured ingots found on a suburban train in France last week and thought to be worth close to 800,000 euros have turned out to be fakes and police are investigating the possibility they could be part of a scam.
Bomb experts called in to defuse a suspect package on a suburban train on the southern edge of Paris on Friday found the object to be a locked metal box containing what appeared to be 20 kg (44 lb) of gold bars.
The discovery made waves in French media, prompting speculation as to who could have "mislaid" the bounty, and above all who would get to keep it if the owner could not be found.
"An expert has found it is not actually gold," Palaiseau police commissioner Lenaig Le Bail told Reuters on Tuesday.
"They've basically been covered in a thin golden layer that may or may not contain a tiny amount of gold. But if you scratch you can tell it's not gold underneath," she said.
Gold has been in the public spotlight recently, due to the spectactular rise in prices prompted by demand for investments deemed as "safe" in the current financial market turmoil.
Shops in rue Vivienne, home to Paris' gold brokers, have reported waves of new customers queuing up outside to purchase the yellow metal, and broker CPoR recently launched smaller 50-500 gram "mini" ingots, for customers unable to fork out the 40,000 euro price tag for a full 1 kg bar.
Palaiseau police said that in light of the demand for gold, they were not ruling out the fake bars could be part of a scam.
(Reporting By Vicky Buffery, editing by Paul Casciato)