French consulate employee arrested smuggling goods into West Bank
Israeli officials arrested an employee of the French consulate in Jerusalem as he tried to cross from Jordan into the West Bank with some 152 kg in gold bars, nearly $2 million in checks and 500 kg of tobacco.
Israeli customs officials on Tuesday arrested a French consulate employee carrying nearly $2 million in checks, 152 kg in gold bars and a half ton of tobacco as he tried to cross between Jordan and the West Bank in a diplomatic vehicle, a French source confirmed to FRANCE 24.
Intrigued by the smell of tobacco, Israeli officials asked the man if they could search his car. He refused, explaining that his diplomatic plates were registered at the French consulate in Jerusalem and that he possessed a service passport – an official document issued by the French authorities that indicates he is a member of the consular staff but which does not serve as a diplomatic passport.
A hidden treasure
Faced with more questions and increasing pressure, the man grew nervous and asked to be allowed to turn around and return to Jordan. The officials refused and called their superiors, who alerted the French consulate. The ambassador was away, so his deputy took the case.