After the Bolsheviks looted the deposed Russian Tsar's jewels following World War I they set up a storage facility for the wealth that some have compared to Fort Knox. It turns out someone's robbed Fort Knox Far East and took a pretty nice haul.
NBC reports Severalmaz, Russia's "state-owned" joint stock company, had shipped 66 lbs. to be inventoried at the repository. When the diamonds were returned the load was no lighter, but NBC, citing a Russian news source, writes that "four of the biggest stones were missing and had been replaced by multiple smaller ones." Someone pulled a sleight-of-hand--and one of the stones was as large as 23 carats. The missing stones are worth millions in market value.
According to NBC the Gokhran facility also has unknown stores "of gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, pearls and amber," and though it is thought to be secure, has been ripped off for hundreds of millions in the recent past.
The first embezzlers who boosted the shiny good stuff from the Gokhran in the roaring 20s were executed, NBC reports. Modern Russia has supposedly moved beyond such severe measures, but anyone who tries to sell off a 23-carat stone in Moscow anytime soon may want to watch their back, just in case Vladimir Putin is a diamond fan.
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