Bundesbank Slashed London Gold Holdings in Mystery Move

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Germany withdrew two thirds of its vast holdings of gold from Bank of England vaults shortly after the launch of the euro more than a decade ago, according to a confidential report by German auditors.

The revelation came as Germany’s budget watchdog demanded an on-site probe of the country’s remaining gold reserves in London, Paris, and New York to verify whether the metal really exists.

The country has 3,396 tons of gold worth €143bn (£116bn), the world’s second-largest holding after the US. Nearly all of it was shifted to vaults abroad during the Cold War in case of a Soviet attack.

Roughly 66pc is held at the New York Federal Reserve, 21pc at the Bank of England, and 8pc at the Bank of France. The German Court of Auditors told legislators in a redacted report that the gold had "never been verified physically" and ordered the Bundesbank to secure access to the storage sites.

It called for repatriation of 150 tons over the next three years to test the quality and weight of the gold bars. It said Frankfurt has no register of numbered gold bars.

The report also claimed that the Bundesbank had slashed its holdings in London from 1,440 tons to 500 tons in 2000 and 2001, allegedly because storage costs were too high. The metal was flown to Frankfurt by air freight.

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