Four men who went on trial in Berlin on January 10th denied involvement in the spectacular 2017 museum theft of a giant commemorative gold coin called the "Big Maple Leaf" valued at 3.75 million euros ($4.3 million), according to AFP.
Police had "presented not a single shred of firm evidence," argued Toralf Noeding, defence lawyer for the three alleged thieves, brothers Wayci, 23, and Ahmed Remmo, 20, and their cousin Wissam Remmo, 21. Noeding also said that his clients had suffered prejudice from the broad media coverage of their extended family with roots in Lebanon, which police and prosecutors consider an organised crime group.
Also in the dock and claiming innocence was 20-year-old former museum security guard Denis Umut W., the alleged inside man, accused of giving the others crucial information for the break-in. His lawyer, Marcel Kelz, denied media reports that the ex-guard had made major purchases, including an 11,000 euro gold chain and shown interest in buying a Mercedes-Benz car and property months after the heist.
Police have found no trace of the 100-kilogramme (220-pound) Canadian coin since the late-night heist in March 2017 from the German capital's Bode Museum, located close to Chancellor Angela Merkel's apartment. Prosecutors assume the nearly pure-gold treasure, which has a face value of one million Canadian dollars, was either cut up, melted down or taken abroad.