Businessman stopped on Swiss border with £1.6m worth of gold in his car

Yahoo! News

An Italian man attempting to cross the Swiss border has had 50 kg (110 lb) of gold seized by police.

The gold, worth around £1.6m (€2m), was found in a hidden compartment in his car. The businessman and his daughter, who was also in the car, have both been charged with smuggling.

The incident underlines a growing trend of Italians who are seeking to move wealth to Switzerland - funds that Italy is trying to have the Swiss authorities tax retroactively. Exports to Switzerland from the financially stricken country rose 35% year-on-year in February, with the Italian statistics office admitting it was mostly due to “sales of non-monetary gold”.

The amount of gold exported from Italy is jumping year on year, with 120 tonnes of the stuff moved to Switzerland in 2011 [a 65% rise on 2010]. As the Italian economic outlook continues to worsen, many have chosen to buy gold in order to retain wealth.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has promised a crackdown on tax evasion as it was claimed that more than £96 billion [€119.6bn] in taxes were dodged Italy in 2009.

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