Berlin police confiscates 77 properties owned by criminal clan
BERLIN, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Berlin police landed a massive blow against organized crime in the German capital and confiscated 77 properties, the Public Prosecutor's Office announced on Thursday.
The properties, believed to be owned by an extended family of Arab descent, are worth at least 10 million euros (11.5 million U.S. dollars), the magazine Spiegel first reported. German investigators suspect that the real estates were at least partly purchased with money from criminal offenses. The properties include apartments and houses, as well as a garden colony.
Last Friday, the German State Office of Criminal Investigations already searched apartments and business premises linked to the clan in 13 different locations in and around Berlin.
German media reported that the robbery of a huge golden coin in 2017 is also believed to be the work of members of the family but the Public Prosecutor's Office would not confirm this claim at Thursday's press conference. The coin, weighing 100 kilograms and a pure gold value of 3.7 million euros (4.3 million U.S. dollars), was stolen from a museum in Berlin at the end of March 2017 and has not yet resurfaced.
In 2017, the German government passed a new law on the confiscation of criminal profits that allows temporary seizure and confiscation of assets of unclear origin. A court then decides whether the confiscated assets are permanently withdrawn.
The German Police Union (GdP) praised the action of the public prosecutor's office and police, lauding he operation's "extraordinary intermediate result".