The world moves on as normal without anyone noticing how 8,000 bars of gold weighing about 100 tons and worth about £4 billion (approximately N1.9 trillion) was repatriated from London to Poland (Warsaw) in a top-secret operation involving planes, helicopters, high-tech trucks and specialist police.
The operation reportedly included a total of eight night-time flights made from an undisclosed London airport over the course of several months, transporting the gold bars to several locations in Poland.
Poland’s gold reserves have been stored at the Bank of England for decades, having been evacuated from Poland at the outbreak of the Second World War amid fears they would fall into the hands of Nazis.
But Poland’s nationalist government has now begun repatriating the gold in order to “strengthen the country”
The company awarded the contract of the gold transfer is no other than G4S.
G4S is the world’s largest security firm by revenue and offers a range of services, including the supply of security personnel, monitoring equipment, response units and secure prisoner transportation. The company also works with governments overseas to deliver security.
G4S described the task the one of the biggest movement of gold between banks in the world.
A spokesman said the final trip, which happened on November 22, saw trucks take 20 crates filled with bars from a facility in northwest London to a nearby airport.
The transport was given a police escort and tracked from overhead by a helicopter.
After arriving at the airport, the bars were strapped down inside a Boeing 737 transport plane and flown to two locations in Poland.
The crates were received by an elite police unit and were loaded on to three more armoured trucks before being taken to vaults belonging to Poland’s national bank in undisclosed locations.
There, everything was counted and measured to ensure nothing was missing.
Paul Holt, a general manager for G4Si quoted by DailyMail said: “It was all very secretive, and extremely important it was done well.”
Poland’s bank chief Adam Glapiński announced that the gold transfer had been completed.
He said 100 tons of Polish gold was now securely locked away in the vaults of the NBP Treasury in Warsaw.
A separate press release said: “To commemorate the return of gold to Poland, the NBP will issue a gold bar-shaped collector coin”
Until recently, Poland held around 100 tons of gold reserves exclusively at the Bank of England but announced in 2018 that it would buy another 100 tons.
The country then announced it would be repatriating half of the gold, following a similar move by the nationalist government of Viktor Orban in Hungary.
Poland had $121.9 billion in official reserves, including gold, as of October 31 this year, Bloomberg reported.
Central banks, including those of Hungary and Serbia, loaded up on gold in the first half of 2019, helping push total bullion demand to a three-year high, according to the World Gold Council. According to Bloomberg’s report, Central banks around the world have been adding to reserves as economic growth slows, trade and geopolitical tensions rise, and authorities seek to diversify away from the dollar.