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Mystery "gold bars" found on Paris train may be a scam

A suitcase containing an estimated $1 million in gold bars was abandoned on a commuter train near Paris, but police now say the gold is fake.
Mystery gold paris train 01 03 2012Enlarge
French police are searching for the person who abandoned a suitcase containing 44 lbs of fake gold bars, found on board the RER train at Massy-Palaiseau station, near Paris. The gold bars pictured here are the real deal. (SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

It was an enticing Paris mystery: who left a suitcase containing 44 pounds of gold bars on a commuter train at Massy-Palaiseau station?

A bomb squad was called in after a conductor on the RER train found a suspicious package left aboard. The locked blue metal case was found to contain 20 gold ingots, with an estimated value of $1 million.

According to the BBC, investigators said the case's owner could have abandoned it on the train deliberately, fearing a police check. The bars had no official markings, and authorities suspected they were made by melting down gold.

Reuters reported:

The discovery made waves in French media, prompting speculation as to who could have "mislaid" the bounty, and above all who would get to keep it if the owner could not be found.

But in a twist, the gold bars have turned out to be fakes.

"They've basically been covered in a thin golden layer that may or may not contain a tiny amount of gold. But if you scratch you can tell it's not gold underneath," Palaiseau police commissioner Lenaig Le Bail told Reuters.

Police are now investigating whether the fake gold bars could be part of a scam.

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